Taiwan legalises same-sex marriage, becomesfirst country in Asia to do so
In a landmark case filed by gay rights activist Chia-Wei Chi, Taiwan’s Court of Grand Justices has held that the provisions of the Civil Code relating to family that do not allow two persons of the same sex to marry are in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage emanating from the right to sound development of personality and the right to human dignity, and the people’s right to equality under of the Constitution. The court directed the Taiwanese legislature to make statutory provisions for same sex marriage within two years, failing which same sex couples will be able to register their marriages anyway.
This decision makes Taiwan the first state in Asia to permit same sex marriage. However, concerns remain about the manner in which ‘marriage’ has been interpreted by the Court, i.e. as a permanent union of “two persons of the same sex … of intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together.” Given the conspicuous absence of any reference to children in the definition, commentators argue that it accords considerable leeway to the legislature to develop a civil partnership regime for same-sex couples, while reserving the ‘privilege’ of marriage for heterosexual couples.