Taiwan's constitutional court on Wednesday, has struck down the definition of marriage in the island's civil code as being only between one man and a woman. This ruling could pave the way for Taiwan becoming the first state in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
The constitutional court, which is officially known as the Council of Grand Judges, ruled that the state's current laws preventing marriages between same-sex couples would violate their right to equality and is therefore considered unconstitutional.
The legislative branch of the government now has two years to enact laws that pertain to same-sex marriages or change the civil code. But even if such actions are not passed in the legislature, same sex couples “shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration,” the court wrote in a press release.
In the same press release, the court also stated that "disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders" constituted a "different treatment" with "no rational basis."
“Everyone is very happy,” said President of Taiwan LGBT family rights advocacy, Woody Wang. “We don’t want to see the legislature dither on this.” he added.
But of course not everyone is happy, as conservative groups in the island-state have been protesting against bills for same-sex marriage that have been filed in the legislature. Their efforst have been partially successful with the bills being stalled after they threatened to mobilize votes against lawmakers who would vote in favor of it.
The lobbying of this conservative faction may have also prevented President Tsai Ing-wen, who had just been elected last year, from throwing her political weight in favor of same-sex marriage.
During her campaign she had said, “In the face of love, everyone is equal.” But since then she has not made any concrete significant moves about the issue.
Now Taiwan's LGBT community is worried that parliament may pass a law recognizing same-sex marriage, but will only grant them some rights, not equal rights that are enjoyed by traditionally married couples, such as in cases of adoption, parenting or having the final say for each other in case of medical emergencies.
Conservatives will be lobbying hard to water down any law that is passed. Regardless this is a step forward for the LGBT community of the island-state, hopefully they'll be able to muster enough numbers to convince parliament to grant them equal rights.