Today (May 24), hundreds of gay couples in Taiwan are celebrating their new marriages after the country became the first in Asia to legalise same-sex weddings.
Up to 280 couples are expected to get married on the day that a new law legalising same-sex marriage comes into effect, one week after parliament approved same-sex marriage legislation.
Government offices opened at 8.30am TST this morning and gay couples were waiting to walk inside and, after a brief registration process, come out legally wed. Up to 150 couples were expected to wed in capital city Taipei alone, according to Jerome Taylor of AFP.
Congratulations to all the happy newlyweds in Taipei, and elsewhere in Taiwan. You made history today. pic.twitter.com/aDzkGM8CN5
— Chris Horton 何貴森 (@heguisen) May 24, 2019
The ceremonies come after a three-decade fight for same-sex marriage by campaigners in Taiwan.
Taiwan legislators voted for a government-backed bill on May 17 that defined a union between a same-sex couple as a marriage.
Conservative opponents had proposed rival bills that would define partnerships as “same-sex unions” or “same-sex familial relationships.”
Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party pushed through the law.
Three decades of campaigning
Chi Chia-wei (above) has been petitioning the Taiwanese government for almost 30 years to legalise same-sex marriage.
He was the first person to come out as openly gay in Taiwan in 1986 and has been behind several campaigns to legalise same-sex marriage.
Today, he urged others in Asian countries to take their battles for same-sex marriage to court.
Over 70 percent of Taiwan opposed to same-sex marriage
In a referendum last November, 72 percent of Taiwan voted against same-sex marriage, showing the opposition towards LGBT+ rights that still persists in the region.
The referendum, which did not impact the supreme court decision to legalise same-sex marriage, favoured defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
However, the vote on May 17 was a momentous victory for Taiwan’s LGBT+ community.
Around 40,000 people took to the streets of Taipei to show support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage on May 17.