Finally, Asia is all set to open up to accommodating same sex marriages with Taiwan planning to take the breakthrough initiative. LGBT rights have for long received a favourable reception from the Taiwanese people and legalising gay and lesbian marriages had for long been a matter of discussion.
It was n 26 December 2016 that Taiwan's legislature formally adopted an amendment to the country's civil code that may just pave the way for legal recognition to same sex marriages. If there are no unexpected roadblocks, Taiwan might ust open the doors in Asia for a more liberal outlook on issues of LGBT rights, which are, world over, seen as essential human rights.
In Taiwan, it was in the 1980s that gay rights became an important discourse with legal endeavours being made in this direction. In the late 1980s, official requests were made to the Taiwanese government to permit same sex union. On 7 March 1986, Taiwan's noted LGBT activist Chi Jia-wei held the first international conference on marriage equality, and since then, over the next three decades, acceptance of LGBT rights has seen a major surge among the country's people. Wei's appeals to courts and to government departments, however, kept seeing rejections.
But in 2006, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Hsiao Bi-khim introduced a bill to legalise same sex marriages and in 2013, a same-sex marriage bill was drafted to espouse the principle of “diverse family formation”. Three years later, it was proposed in the legislature that the words “male and female parties” in the marriage chapter of the Civil Code should be replaced with “both parties”, a step that was seen to give major boost to sexual orientation equality. The call to change the civil code found further
support from legislator Hsu Yu-jen from the opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) and the New Power Party (NPP) caucus.
Those supporting marriage equality give the argument that choosing a partner is part of one's human rights and protection of human rights should rightly be a universal endeavour. However, there is also a significanlooby of conservatives who are opposing the move.
Comprising mostly orthodox Christian groups, this lobby believes marriage equality may not augur well for the traditional family system, with children getting perplexed about how to address their parents properly.
Asia has been languishing in the area of marriage equality and LGBT rights even though as many as 21 countries in Europe and America have already legalised same sex civil unions. Top among them are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. In many other countries in the west, the public vehemently supports marriage equality.
In Asia, no country so far has legalised same sex partnership
even though Taiwan has for long been seen as a gay friendly country. In 2003, the Taiwan Pride parade made global headlines because of the outpour of support from the common man, something which was seen as unusual in an Asian set up. UP. On 29 October 2016, the pride parade in Taiwan again made headlines by seeing a record turnout of 82,000 people.