The first gay marriages in Asia were registered in Taiwan today after the parliament last week legalized the marriage of two people of the same sex.
The first two couples – two men and two women – kissed each other and signed their marriage certificates. It is a breakthrough in the decades-long struggle for equal rights.
The Taiwanese Prime Minister, Su Tseng-chang, has brought on board conservative D. P. P. legislators for last Friday’s vote. Mr. Su said that, while he acknowledged that the current law will need to be improved, it was an important first step.
“Today, Taiwan officially has a law that says that same-sex couples, some of whom have been in love for decades, can marry,” said Mr. Su.
“We can only guess how things will go in the future, “he said,” but democracy in Taiwan is still young and still finds its way.”
Mr. Chi, the gay rights lawyer, repeated that sentiment said his work was incomplete. He and his partner are currently not planning on getting married, he said, explaining that they will only marry if full marriage equality is enshrined in Taiwanese law.
“We waited so long,” he said. “We’re in no hurry.”
In May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that denying same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The government was given until 24 May 2019 to change the law, while gay marriage would become a reality if nothing happened.
However, being the first gay marriages in Asia, the new law still has limitations that heterosexual couples do not have to deal with. Same-sex couples can currently only adopt biological children of their partners and can only marry foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is also recognized.
Gay rights groups say they are willing to accept partial equality for now in the hope of later winning legal battles over issues such as adoption, surrogacy, and marrying foreigners.
Opponents have sworn to punish President Tsai Ing-wen and the politicians who supported gay marriage law in the January 2020 elections, when the Taiwanese will elect both a new president and a new parliament.