14 judges in a Taiwanese legal panel have ruled that defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman in Taiwan’s civil law is discriminatory against homosexuals, and violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection. They have asked for the government to amend the law within 2 years.
This news was met with jubilant responses from the Taiwanese, and even Singaporean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) supporters and activists.
The ruling sees Taiwan becoming the first Asian country to legally rule in favor of marriage equality.
This court interpretation came about after gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei, 59, challenged the Taipei city government for rejecting his and his partner’s application to marry in 2013. The ruling is binding on the government, which means same sex unions will have legal clout in future.
However, the panel did not specify whether it would be better to change the civil code, which governs family use, or to create a new separate law for homosexual couples. The ruling will still be a great boost for LGBT activists, who have pushed for proposals to amend the Civil Code in the Taiwanese parliament, which passed the first of 3 readings last December.