Taiwan court to rule on gay marriage

Marriage|May 22nd 2017

A Taiwanese court is expected to rule whether or not gay marriage should be legal this week.

The country’s Constitutional Court will make a final decision on a legal challenge to the civil code which declares that marriage is only permitted between a man and a woman. Long-time LGBT rights activist Chi Chai-wei believes this section of the code is unconstitutional.

He launched his legal bid two years ago in order to receive official recognition of his 30-year relationship with a partner who does not want to be publicly named.

The ruling is expected to be announced on Wednesday. Whichever way the Justices decide to go will have a serious impact on legislation currently making its way through the Taiwanese parliament. The bill would eliminate references to gender in the small island nation’s marriage law. A declaration from the Court that the current code is unconstitutional would mean the law must be changed so the bill would be almost guaranteed to succeed. By contrast, a rejection could derail the lawmakers’ efforts entirely.

Speaking to The Guardian, Chi said he would “keep on fighting for the people, and for human rights” if the Constitutional Court does not rule in his favour. Legalising gay marriage “would mean that Taiwan’s civil code and constitution will say that gay people are people” and would finally be given human rights, he explained.

If gay marriage is enacted in Taiwan, it will become the first country in Asia to grant such rights. But the journey has not been smooth. When the country’s parliament began to debate the issue, thousands of conservatives and Christians descended upon the capital Taipei in order to protest the possibility of marriage equality.

Photo by othree via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

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