In a landmark ruling, Taiwan has become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Taiwan is self-governing and home to Asia’s largest gay pride parade. At 4pm, its Council of Grand Justices – the top judicial court – ruled that denying the right for two people of the same sex to marry is unconstitutional.
It was a long time coming for Taiwan, whose President Tsai Ing-wen came out in support of same-sex marriage during her 2015 election campaign. Taiwanese youth have been ferociously campaigning for this result for years, going to the polls in droves to vote in an LGBT-positive president. Now, Taiwan must rejig its civil code to allow for same-sex marriage laws to be passed in the next two years.
59-year-old Chi Chia-wei, who came out when he was a teen in 1975, has waited decades for this. He told The Telegraph that he was “leaping with joy like a bird” now that he can legally marry.
While there are other Asian countries that have laws stipulating protections for LGBT people, such as Nepal, there is no law legalizing same-sex marriage. The city of Sapporo, Japan, recognizes same-sex marriages, but Japan as a nation is still a ways off from acknowledging the rights of LGBT people. China, Korea and Australia are also still nowhere close to passing a law legalizing same sex marriage.
In the face of other horrors, such as the “gay purge” taking place in Chechnya, this is a welcome verdict. Look at these happy people.