Two days ago, the constitutional court of Taiwan, the Judicial Yuan, ruled that the same-sex couples should have the right to get married – making Taiwan potentially the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage. The court ruled that a stipulation in the civil code, stipulating that marriage could not be between two persons of the same sex, was unconstitutional. In the ruling, the judges give the legislative branch two years to amend the law. Furthermore, they stipulated that if no such amendment had been enacted, that same-sex couples will be allowed “apply for marriage registration to the authorities in charge of household registration” (see full press release here), making the legalisation of gay marriage in Taiwan now inevitable.
As a gay man, I feel the ruling from the court means the country recognizes my right to get married. This demonstrates LGBT people can be included in Taiwanese society. As an activist, I think this is a milestone for Taiwan’s LGBT movement, and it shows the concept of gender equality is gradually realized. In Taiwan, people’s attitude toward LGBT is changing, because of our gender equity education since 2004 and more visibility of LGBT people. Before, LGBT people were perceived as abnormal or ill, but over the last decade this has started to change, and now younger generations think being gay or lesbian is not unusual, and most people think we should not interfere with same-sex couples as long as they don’t interfere with us (which is not good enough, but at least it adheres to the “do no harm” principle). Therefore, not only do LGBT people have joined us in the fight for marriage equality, many straight l allies also stood up for us when we advocated for marriage equality. Now the battlefield is back to Legislative Yuan (i.e. Taiwan Congress). We will use this opportunity to continue our public education campaigns so that Taiwan society can know more about the lives of LGBT people in Taiwan.
Wayne Lin is Chairperson of the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association. He has volunteered with the Hotline for more than 12 years (www.hotline.org.tw/english). He supported the organisation of the first LGBT Pride Parade in Taiwan and currently advocates for marriage equality in the country. Wayne’s contact: email@example.com
Wayne Lin是台灣同志諮詢熱線協會的理事長，已經在熱線擔任義工超過12年，參與組織第一屆的台灣同志大遊行，現在主要推動婚姻平權 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)