Taiwan’s Constitutional Court Rules in Favour of Gay Marriage

Wednesday's rally in support of Gay Marriage in Taipei (Taiwan).

以下請見中文版

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: wclin@hotline.org.tw

**Chinese version**

在兩天前(5月24號),台灣司法院大法官(憲法法庭)判決同性伴侶應該要有權可以結婚,使得台灣極有可能成為亞洲第一個讓同性婚姻合法化的國家。大法官判定目前民法中不允許同性結婚是違反憲法的,並給立法院兩年的時間修正法律。同時,如果在兩年內無法完成修法,同性伴侶就可立即前往戶政機關辦理結婚登記,使得同性婚姻合法化成為必然會實現。

「作為一位男同志,我覺得這個判決表示國家承認我結婚的權利,也表示同志族群更被台灣社會接受。作為一個同志運動者,我覺得這是台灣同志運動的里程碑,也看出性別平等的概念逐漸在台灣落實。在台灣,由於在2004年開始推動的性別平等教育,以及越來越多同志族群被看到,人們對於同志族群的態度一直在轉變。在之前,同志被視為是不正常、有病的;但是在經過十幾年開始有所轉變,年輕族群覺得同志不再是不常見的事,大多數人也覺得只要同性伴侶不打擾到他們,我們也不應該干擾同性伴侶(這樣的觀念當然還不夠好,但是至少符合”不造成傷害”的原則)。因此,不僅是同志朋友們加入我們一同爭取婚姻平權時,許多「直同志」也為我們挺身而出。現在戰場回到立法院,我們利用這個時機持續進行群眾教育的活動,讓台灣社會可以更清楚瞭解在台灣同志生活的處境。」

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: wclin@hotline.org.tw)

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