Taiwan is making history as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
On Friday, the country's legislature caved to pressure from the LGBT community and signed a bill to approve marriages between two men or two women. The new law also gives them many of the same tax, insurance, and child custody benefits as traditionally married couples.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted out on May 16th, "Good morning
#Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society. Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins."
The next morning he added, "On May 17th, 2019 in Taiwan, LoveWon. We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better country."
On May 17th, 2019 in #Taiwan, #LoveWon. We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country. 🏳️🌈
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
Sifting through the comments and responses to the tweet, it is clear that the bill was strongly supported. I did not see one negative response, which is surprising considering how controversial of a topic that gay marriage is.
When the law to legalize same-sex marriage in America was passed in 2015, there was mass outrage and even protesting. I wonder if Taiwan will see any of the same opposition.
"It's a breakthrough, I have to say so," said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.
Thousands of people, including same-sex couples, demonstrated Friday morning in the rainy streets outside parliament before the vote. Many carried rainbow-colored placards reading "The vote cannot fail." About 50 opponents sat under a tent outside parliament and gave speeches favoring marriage between only men and women.
Religion, conservative values and political systems that discourage LGBT activism have slowed momentum toward same-sex marriage in many Asian countries from Japan through much of Southeast Asia, although Thailand is exploring the legalization of same-sex civil partnerships.
Many leaders believe that this will fast track the laws in other Asian countries to follow in Taiwan's footsteps.
Gay marriage has been a controversial topic in America, and around the world, for decades. What do you think about it?