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Taiwan High Court First in Asia to Rule Same-Sex Marriage Legal

In a historic decision, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that the nation's laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying violates their equal protection and personal freedom.

NPR reports that the justices named sexual orientation an "immutable characteristic that is resistant to change." Following the ruling, Taiwan's president asked the nation's Ministry of Justice to create a legal framework to comply with the decision.

The ruling paves the way for Taiwan to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Activists have celebrated the decision. Lisa Tassi, who directs campaigns in East Asia for Amnesty International, told the news source, "the judges have today said yes to marriage equality. This is a huge step forward for LGBTI rights in Taiwan and will resonate across Asia."

NPR explains that the government now has two years to change its marriage laws. If it fails to do so, once that deadline passes, same-sex couples will be able to register to marry and be legally recognized as a couple.

A press release from the Taiwanese court stated that letting people decide who to marry "is vital to the sound development of personality and safeguarding of human dignity, and therefore is a fundamental right."

The decision was not unanimously welcomed, however. According to Taiwan News, groups that oppose same-sex marriage protested outside the court, with some calling for the president to step down.

[Photo via Mashable]

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