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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 24, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 21
Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage
Section One
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Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

TAIPEI, Taiwan - On May 17, 2019, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), in a historic vote, the parliament of Taiwan voted to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in Asia to do so. This landmark step follows a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Taiwan back in 2017, which ruled that legislation preventing partners of the same sex to marry was unconstitutional and violated LGBTIQ people's right to equality.

A civil society campaign in support of marriage equality, led by Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, has been gaining strength over the last two years both at local and international levels. Jennifer Lu, the coordinator of the campaign, has been part of OutRight's Advocacy Week at the United Nations in December 2018 and a speaker at OutSummit, enabling her to address international policymakers directly.

The groundbreaking changes were passed by Parliament despite a referendum on the topic held at the end of 2018 showing that a majority of Taiwanese society does not support same-sex marriage. The provisions passed by Parliament today allow for same-sex marriage as well as some adoption rights, and will come into force on May 24.

Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, commented:

'The Parliament of Taiwan made a historic decision today. They stepped up and unequivocally showed that human rights and equality are not subject to public opinion. The parliament made a decision recognizing that love is love, regardless of gender, and that everyone who wishes to formalize their relationship and benefit from the corresponding protections of the state can do so, regardless of whether their partner is of the same or different gender. With this groundbreaking decision, Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage. It is incredible that the decision was made on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia, and Interphobia, sending the strongest possible message against hate and discrimination and for recognition of the human rights of LGBTIQ people.

But while the parliament deserves immense credit for taking this brave step in spite of opposition, it could not have happened without the relentless courage and perseverance of LGBTIQ activists in Taiwan. Their success brings hope and inspiration to LGBTIQ movements in Asia and around the world.'

Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people's human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown - or willfully ignored - by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.

Courtesy of OutRight Action International

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