By: Brian Kim
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
TAIPEI, Taiwan – On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled in favor of same-sex couples and declared that the couples have the legal right to marry. The first such ruling in Asia, the court struck down the Civil Code’s legal definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
The court declared that the Civil Code’s definition of marriage violated articles of the constitution and allowed the legislatures two years to change existing marriage laws. If the body fails to pass a legislation in the next two years, the court wrote that the same-sex couples “shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated to the authorities in charge of household registration.”
The court made its ruling in response to two petitions to review the existing law. One was brought by a longtime gay rights campaigner, Mr. Chi Chia-wei. Mr. Chi was in favor of changing the Civil Code’s definition of marriage. The other petition was brought by the city government of Taipei after being sued for rejecting same-sex couple’s marriage applications.
The decision was celebrated by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists. Hundreds of supporters gathered to celebrate the decision in Taipei, the nation’s capital.
Democratic Progressive Party that overwhelmingly swept national elections last year supported this change and a bill to enforce the court’s ruling has been presented.
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