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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside the parliament in Taipei on May 17, 2019.
SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

The island nation has made history not just for the region -- but also the world. 

The island nation of Taiwan has made history.

The Taiwanese Legislature on Friday voted in favor of allowing same-sex couples the same right to marry. That makes Taiwan the first nation in Asia to approve marriage equality as the law of the land.

"We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country," tweeted Taiwanese president Tai Ing-Wen

Pro-LGBTQ demonstrators waved Rainbow flags and iconography in the streets outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, according to The New York Times.

"Love has won over hate, and equality has won over discrimination," said Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan acting director, in a statement.

"This is a moment to cherish and celebrate, but it has been a long and arduous campaign for Taiwan to become the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage."

The equality win comes just seven years after the first known religious ceremony for a same-sex couple in a Taiwanese Buddhist temple and only six years after the first march against LGBTQ discrimination in Taiwan.

The groundwork was laid in Taiwan when the courts issued a landmark ruling affirming marriage equality rights in 2017, but resistance to the social progress has confronted legislative implementation leading into this month.

Indeed, Human Rights Watch noted that a referendum in November last year show showed a significant level of resistance remained with 67 percent of voters coming out against marriage equality.

The Legislature faced a deadline of next week for passing legal recognition of same-sex marriages, based on the 2017 court order.

Taiwan technically remains a Republic of China where same-sex couples do not have access to marriage, but the island enjoys self-rule.

Couples will be able to begin marrying later this month.

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