Taiwan's parliament approves same-sex marriages in first for Asia

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Crowds celebrate as marriage law passes

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Crowds celebrate as marriage law passes

Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party pushed through a vote on same-sex marriage in parliament on Friday (May 17), which marks the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, who campaigned on a marriage equality platform, celebrated on social media after the vote: "We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country".

Same-sex marriage supporters take part in a rally during parliament discussion on three different draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 14, 2019.

Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2011.

Other key sections of the law were still being debated and voted on Friday, including what, if any, provisions there will be for same-sex couples to adopt.

"We are just a group of people who want to live well on this land and who love each other", she told the crowd.

The landmark decision cements Taiwan's reputation as a beacon of liberalism in a region where the LGBT community faces increasing persecution, and will give a long-awaited boost to Asia's burgeoning gay rights movement.

In 2017, Taiwan's highest court ruled the Civil Code was unconstitutional because it did not recognize same-sex marriages.

Under the act, same-sex couples would be able to become legally married from Friday next week to meet a two-year deadline stipulated in Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, which was handed down by the Council of Grand Justices on May 24, 2017.

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In November previous year, voters passed a referendum in support of male-female marriages only.

The new law allows two people of the same gender to register a marriage as long as at least two witnesses sign the registration document.

Despite the spread of same-sex marriage in a few regions since 2001, gay and lesbian couples are permitted to marry in only about two dozen of the world's almost 200 countries.

Ireland said yes to same-sex marriage after a popular vote.

Taiwan goes to the polls in January and the gay marriage issue could hamper Tsai's chances of re-election.

"The cabinet's bill ignores the referendum results and that is unacceptable", said Lai Shyh-bao of the opposition Kuomintang party, who proposed one of the bills backed by conservatives.

In Indonesia, declining secularism has led to deepening discrimination against the country's gay, lesbian and transgender communities.

"What we have achieved is not easy", said Victoria Hsu, the founder and executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.

Vietnam decriminalized gay marriage celebrations in 2015, but it stopped short of full legal recognition for same-sex unions.

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