Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen celebrates same-sex marriage ruling: ‘Love won’

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is celebrating the news that same-sex marriage has been legalised in the country, thus becoming the first Asian country to do so.

Tsai tweeted on Friday (May 17): “On May 17th, 2019 in #Taiwan, #LoveWon. We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.”

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party pushed through a vote on same-sex marriage in parliament on Friday (May 17), which marks the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Legislators voted for a government-backed bill that would define 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 makes same-sex marriage history in Asia

Tsai and the DPP’s victory on equal marriage makes Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

However, same-sex marriage has caused division in Taiwan ever since Taiwan’s top court ruled that defining marriage as being between only a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

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.

Gay rights supporters celebrate outside Parliament after lawmakers legalised same-sex marriage bill in Taipei on May 17, 2019. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty)

Taiwan votes for same-sex marriage over weaker solutions

Legislators voted between three separate bills to recognise same-sex unions on Friday, but ultimately pushed ahead with the DPP’s law defining same-sex unions as marriages. The bill was considered the most progressive of the three.

The other two bills limited the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman and sought to create a new type of union for same-sex couples. One bill proposed calling marriage a “same-sex familial relationship,” with partners being called “same-sex family members.” The other bill sought to call same-sex marriage a “same-sex union” with partners referred to as “domestic partners.”

The DPP’s bill will recognise unions as marriages, the same as heterosexual couples, and define partners as spouses.

The bill will also allow same-sex couples to adopt each other’s biological children, but not adopt non-biological children.