constitutional court declared on Wednesday that same-sex couples have
the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, sparking
celebration by activists who have been campaigning for the right for
The court, known as
the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws were “in violation of both
the people’s freedom of marriage … and the people’s right to
equality”, and it gave two years for legal amendments to allow same-sex
“If relevant laws are not
amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same
sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to
have their marriage registration effectuated,” the court said.
gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists had harbored high hopes
their years of campaigning for same-sex marriage would win the court’s
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party that swept national elections in the self-ruled island last year supported the change.
of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in the street next to the
island’s parliament to celebrate the decision, holding colorful
umbrellas to ward off a drizzle.
ruling has made me very happy,” said Chi Chia-wei, a veteran gay rights
activist who had petitioned the court to take up the issue.
ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriage is the first in Asia,
where socially conservative attitudes largely hold sway.
Graphic on countries and regions that allow same-sex marriage: tmsnrt.rs/2rg66SW
A lawyer said the ruling made clear that same-sex couples had the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples.
is a clear victory for equal rights in marriage and it is also a
victory for all the people,” said Victoria Hsu, the lead lawyer
supporting Chi’s case.
Taiwan has a reputation as a beacon of liberalism in the region.
“Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” the court said in its ruling.
the freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally
recognized, will constitute the collective basis, together with
opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society,” it said.
which China regards as a renegade province, has a celebrated annual gay
pride parade that showcases the vibrancy of its lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender community.