Taiwan has long been one of the most progressive places in Asia, and it’s continuing that tradition by moving forward with a new same-sex marriage bill proposal. Drafted by politicians from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the bill would change the legal definition of marriage from “between a man and woman” to simply between two people, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage.
Taiwan currently has some small measures of recognition for same-sex couples, but few legal protections or rights. DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu commented: “While many local governments accept household registrations from same-sex couples, it is just an executive measure that does not give them full legal rights. This time we want an overall rule added: Gays and heterosexuals will have the right to equally enjoy the benefits of marriage, including parental authority over children and freedom from discrimination in adoption cases.”
Although the city is relatively progressive, many people still hold traditional views against homosexuality. Chang Shou-yi, head of the anti-LGBT Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan, protested against the bill: “What gay activists want is for their lifestyle to be affirmed by society, but why do they need to change the traditional institution of marriage, which goes back thousands of years?”
Gay marriage is still illegal throughout the whole of Asia; gay sex is still outlawed in at least twenty Asian countries, and punishable by death in several. However, with places like Taiwan and Hong Kong slowly adopting pride parades and LGBT legislation, hopefully other countries will follow.