On Wednesday, 24 May 2017, the Judicial Yuan, Taiwan’s highest court, ruled that restricting marriage to only a man and a women was unconstitutional, voting in favor of marriage equality.
Taiwan has made history as the first Asian country to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. The 14 grand justices demanded that current laws be amended within 2 years to allow for same-sex marriage, in the event laws have not changed in that timeframe, couples will be able to register their marriage anyway.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commented on the win in Taiwan saying, “This is a great victory for Taiwan and for all of Asia. Taiwanese activists have been campaigning for years to achieve this outcome and all of their efforts have paid off in full. Amidst conservative pushback against LGBTIQ rights and equality in other parts of Asia, this is much welcomed good news and reason to celebrate. Love trumps hate.”
Jean Chong, OutRight Action International’s Program Field Coordinator, reflected on how this decision might impact the wider Asian region saying, “The historic ruling in Taiwan paves the way for other Asian countries to follow suit. It says you can be Asian, be valued for who you are and who you love, and be on the right side of history.
Taiwan might just start a positive domino effect where we will see other countries like Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand following in these footsteps.”
The ruling did not clarify whether the civil law will be changed or whether a new law will be enacted to allow for same-sex couples to marry. Activists in the country have been advocating for a change in the civil code. Regardless of how the laws will be changed the ruling is a guarantee for marriage equality for Taiwanese citizens.