A giant leap for LGBTQI equality in Asia.
On May 24, Taiwan’s highest court, the Judicial Yuan, ruled that limiting marriage to between only a man and a woman was unconstitutional, thereby voting in support of marriage equality.
With this, Taiwan makes history as the first Asian country to vote in favor of marriage equality.
The 14 grand justices thereby demanded that current laws be amended within two years to allow for same-sex marriage. If, in that time frame, laws have not been changed, same-sex couples will still be able to register their marriages.
Taiwan’s LGBTQI community is among the strongest in Asia, with its annual Pride celebration – considered the biggest in Asia – attracting up to 70,000 people. But – as it is with other communities – there’s also discontent from within. In 2015, for instance, during Taiwan’s Pride, some members of Taiwan’s LGBTQI community lamented the “hijacking” of an LGBTQI event because of the lack of opportunity to highlight “non-mainstream LGBTQI issues.” LGBTQI activist 徐豪謙 noted how many politicians attempt to spread goodwill to the LGBTQI community, but “these people only talk about the politically correct and popular issue of same-sex marriage, as if we don’t have other issues to face.” At that time, the issues of LGBTQI people in the sex industry were relegated to the sidelines, with LGBTQI sex workers actually not allowed to speak because too many groups were already going to speak, and so there had to be “trade-offs” (in this case, their getting kicked out, while politicians were allowed to speak).
Marriage equality also remains a divisive issue within the LGBTQI community. While largely considered a step in the direction of granting equal rights to LGBTQI people in relationships, it is also considered an elitist move grounded on a traditional (and failing) institution and, obviously, elitism (see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE, for example).