Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

Taiwan's parliament has finally become the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, following a historic vote on Friday.

Back in 2017, the island's constitutional court had ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry - and the government had two years to pass the changes (with the deadline on 24 May).

Three bills were discussed by lawmakers, and the government's - which was the most progressive - was passed by 66 to 27 votes.

Gay rights supporters celebrate outside Parliament after lawmakers legalised same-sex marriage bill in Taipei on May 17, 2019. - Taiwan's parliament began debating Asia's first gay marriage law as conservative lawmakers launch a last-ditch attempt to scupper the most progressive bill in favour of a watered-down 'civil-union' law. (Photo by Sam YEH / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

The bill refers to partnerships as "marriages" while others sought to classify them as "same-sex family relationships" or "same-sex unions". On top of that, the government's bill was the only one to offer limited adoption rights.

"The [government]'s bill is already our bottom line, we won't accept any more compromise," Jennifer Lu, the chief coordinator of rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan told Reuters before the historic vote.

"If one of the two other bills is passed, we will launch another constitutional court challenge."

People took to the streets in celebration, with hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei.

Others took to social media to declare their joy.

However, not everyone was happy with the result.

"The [government's] bill ignores the referendum results and that is unacceptable," conservative lawmaker Lai Shyh bao had said.