Taiwan's legislature voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia and a boost for LGBT rights activists who had championed the cause for two decades. Lawmakers pressured by LGBT groups as well as church organizations opposed to the move approved most of a government-sponsored bill that recognizes same-sex marriages and gives couples many of the tax, insurance, and child custody benefits available to male-female married couples. That makes Taiwan the first place in Asia with a comprehensive law both allowing and laying out the terms of same-sex marriage. Taiwan's Constitutional Court in May 2017 said the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly, reports the AP.
Thousands of people demonstrated Friday morning in the rainy streets outside parliament before the vote. Many carried rainbow-colored placards reading "the vote cannot fail." About 50 opponents gave speeches favoring marriage between only men and women. Taiwan's acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships began in the 1990s when leaders in today's ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society. Although claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with a vibrant civil society dedicated to promoting rights for sexual and ethnic minorities, women, the handicapped, and others.
(Read more Taiwan