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Taiwan Becomes First in Asia to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

It's been an emotional week for Taiwan's same-sex couples.

On Friday, May 17, tens of thousands of same-sex marriage supporters stood in the heavy rain outside the parliament in Taipei to watch the live voting of a bill in favor of marriage equality, Taiwan News reports. The bill contains four articles regarding same-sex unions.

With 66 legislators voting for and 27 voting against, Taiwan lawmakers passed article four of the bill, which allows same-sex couples to marry. Similarly, 75 voted in favor of article two of the bill, which states that "two people of the same gender may establish a permanent, exclusive relationship for the purpose of pursuing a common life.”

The bill, however, still has some limitations. It only permits same-sex marriages between Taiwanese or a Taiwanese and a foreigner whose country allows same-sex marriage. A same-sex couple has the right to adopt as long as the child is biologically related to at least one of them.

In May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage violates personal freedom and equality rights. The court then gave the government a two-year deadline to put marriage equality into law.

Since then, there has been pushback from conservative groups, most notably the referendum put forth in November 2018.

“The law will not be 100% perfect, but this is a good start and this is a major step to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. Now the law says everyone should be treated equally no matter who you are, who you love,” said Victoria Hsu, founder and executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, to The Guardian.

[Photo via New York Times]

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