Tai­wan court rules in favour of gay mar­riage

New Straits Times - - World -

TAIPEI: Tai­wan’s top court ruled in favour of gay mar­riage yes­ter­day, a land­mark de­ci­sion that paves the way for the is­land to be­come the first place in Asia to le­galise same-sex unions.

Crowds of sup­port­ers cheered, hugged and wept as the court said that cur­rent laws pre­vent­ing the prac­tice “vi­o­lated” the con­sti­tu­tion’s guar­an­tees of free­dom of mar­riage and equal­ity.

It gave the gov­ern­ment two years to im­ple­ment the rul­ing.

Mo­men­tum had been grow­ing be­hind the push for equal mar­riage rights, with Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen openly sup­port­ing the cam­paign. But there had also been anger among con­ser­va­tive groups, who staged mass ral­lies against any change in the law.

The con­sti­tu­tional court said that if Par­lia­ment did not make the change within two years, same-sex cou­ples could reg­is­ter to marry re­gard­less, based on its in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Hun­dreds of gay mar­riage sup­port­ers who gath­ered out­side Par­lia­ment here erupted at the news, with some break­ing down in tears.

Ac­tivists ad­dress­ing the crowd said they must now fight to en­sure the gov­ern­ment im­ple­mented the rul­ing.

Out­side Taipei’s main ju­di­cial head­quar­ters, an­gry anti-gay mar­riage protesters beat drums shout­ing “un­fair jus­tice” and “sin­ners“, call­ing for the head of the ju­di­ciary to step down.

A panel of 14 grand jus­tices made the rul­ing — a ma­jor­ity of 10 was needed. Only two judges dis­sented. AF

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