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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Chiang Ying-ying
Chiang Ying-ying/AP


A court in the self-governing island of Taiwan ruled today that every one of its people has the right to marry, regardless of sex. This marks the first place in Asia to rule in favor same-sex marriage nationwide.

President Tsai Ing-wen came out in favor of same-sex marriage during her 2015 campaign for office, following a steady surge in liberal reform throughout the nation since martial law was taken away in 1987. Quartzreports that while Ing-wen doesn't share her personal life with the public, rumors have long swirled that she herself might be gay.

Other cities in Asia have also been able to pass same-sex marriage laws, such as Sapporo in Japan, though the ruling does not apply to the whole country. In Nepal, LGBTQ citizens are provided protection under the law, but that doesn't include the right to marry. Even with liberal pockets growing in China, Korea and Australia, none have yet been able to pass the right to marry for all citizens.

Today's ruling was made at 4 PM local time by Taiwan's Council of Grand Justices. (You can read the entire court document, here). The verdict explains that a current law forbidding the union of same-sex couples is unconstitutional, therefore lawmakers will need to rewrite the nation's legislation to explicitly legalize same-sex marriage within the next two years.

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