In terms of LGBT equality, Taiwan has long been regarded as one of the most progressive places in Asia. In addition to sex between same-sex partners being legal, Taiwan has also banned anti-LGBT discrimination in workplaces and schools and permitted individuals to change their genders. Now, it seems the next step forward for the state could come in the form of marriage equality.
Marriage equality was first proposed by the executive branch of the Taiwan government (Executive Yuan) in 2003 but was stalled in the face of massive opposition from cabinet members and conservative lawmakers. Members of the government’s legislative branch, led by legislator Yu Mei-Nu, attempted to revive the proposal in 2012, but received considerable push-back at the committee level.
Now, however, with the more liberal Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in power, members of Taiwan’s LGBT community are hopeful that marriage equality might finally be made legal.
The DPP came to majority power this past May when Tsai Ing-wen (pictured below) was sworn in as Taiwan’s first female president.
The liberal politician has long been an advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality; last year, she voiced her support for the community in a Pride video on her Facebook page in which she said, “I support marriage equality. Every person should be able to look for love freely, and freely seek their own happiness.”
Following Tsai’s inauguration, Yu stated that she was planning to reintroduce marriage equality to the legislative branch later this year. Though she now has cross-party support, she predicts that the legislation will not pass until the end of Tsai’s term in 2020.
Jason Hsu, a member of DPP’s rival party Kuomintang, agrees that LGBT equality is a top priority and will only come about through cross-party collaboration. In an interview with CNN, Hsu commented, “This is an issue that shouldn’t be ideological. It’s a sign of a society’s progressiveness.”
In addition to the right to marry, the legislation would allow same-sex couples to inherit wealth and property as well as access surrogacy parent arrangements. If Taiwan were to vote the legislation into law, it would become the first state in Asia to have full marriage equality.