A panel on Taiwan’s highest court ruled that the current law banning same-sex unions is a violation of the constitution. The island nation would be the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage.
The Council of Grand Justices, Taiwan’s highest court, has ruled in favor of gay marriage today. This ruling by a panel of 14 grand justices paves the way for Taiwan to be the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage according to Reuters.
LGBT right groups held a rally near the legislature building in Taipei in support of marriage equality.
Legislators have been given two years to revise the civil code by Secretary General of the Council of Grand Justices, Lu Tai-lang. “Even if the authorities fail to revise the law at the end of the two-year period, gay couples can always register with local household offices to make their marriage legal and they will enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples do,” Lu said.
“Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” the court said in its ruling. “Furthermore, the freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally recognized, will constitute the collective basis, together with opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society.”
The debate over gay marriage in the island nation has continued for more than 14 years since the government first introduced the idea in 2003. There have been fierce opponents of gay marriage who say that it would destroy the moral fabric of society.
“A marriage between one man and one woman has long been our tradition and changing it would not only create a serious moral problem but would also encourage social degeneration,”said Yu Hsin-yi, secretary general of the Greater Taipei Stability Power Alliance, which opposes gay marriage. “Also, the review of the so-called marriage equality bill has yet to go through the third and final reading.”
Taiwan holds an annual gay pride parade that celebrates it’s vibrant LGBT community.