Those of the LGBT community continue to face challenges across Asia that are not experienced by heterosexual people.
In more than 20 countries, same-sex activity is illegal with some countries having homosexual activity punishable by the death penalty.
In many Asian countries, homosexuality is considered socially unacceptable and LGBT people typically face discrimination and prejudice.
However, there have been changes in recent years. India recently decriminalised homosexual relationships due to the Supreme Court’s decision. However, Taiwan has been trying to make progress on same-sex relationships for several years.
In June 2017, the Taiwan Constitutional Court ruled that statutory ban on same-sex marriage was unlawful and requested that the government relax restrictions to allow for equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples.
However, prior to this ruling, many cities including Taipei and Kaohsiung had already allowed same-sex couples to register their marriage for several years. By July 2017, 94% of the Taiwanese population was living in a jurisdiction that legalised same-sex marriage.
But the ruling faced challenges from several groups. A national referendum was requested with almost 70% voting against protecting same-sex marriage rights.
However, Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen spearheaded the move to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Taiwan Constitutional Court set a deadline on 24 May 2019 for the government to curb restrictions on same-sex marriage. The Taiwanese parliament passed the bill on 17 May 2019, legalising same-sex marriage, a law that will go into effect from 24 May 2019 onwards.
This has been a great victory for the LGBT community in Taiwan.
Despite this, the LGBT community continues to face challenges in Taiwan and all across Asia. Only time will tell whether public opinion will gradually turn in favour of same-sex marriage.
With this historic ruling, Taiwan joins around two dozen countries that have legalised same-sex marriage. Taiwan is also the first country in the Asia to do so, marking an unprecedented ruling in history.