Monday, May 20, 2019

Equality (finally) comes to Taiwan

Back in 2017, Taiwan's highest court ruled that violated “the people’s freedom of marriage” and “the people’s right to equality”, and gave the legislature to enact a marriage equality law. And over the weekend, just one week before the deadline expired, they finally did it:

Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage, the first of any Asian state, with the passage of legislation giving gay couples the right to marry.

Lawmakers on Friday comfortably passed part of a bill that would allow gay couples to enter into “exclusive permanent unions” and apply for marriage registration with government agencies.

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who campaigned on a platform of marriage equality, tweeted after the vote: “We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.”

The government had a gun to its head, in that if they hadn't legislated, a court order would have come into effect allowing same-sex marriage. And while the current president supports equality, in the interim they have had a bigot referendum which sought to restrict marriage rights and permanently exclude gay couples. The law tries to dance a line between the court order and the referendum. Whether it manages that successfully will I guess be decided by the courts.