Taiwan Becomes First Nation in Asia to Legalize Gay Marriage Wednesday May 24,2017
The constitutional court of the Republic of China, Taiwan, on Wednesday May 24,2017, in a landmark verdict ruled in favor of gay marriages, making it the first country in Asia to do so.
The highest judicial body of the country held that the current laws preventing such a union was ‘unconstitutional’.
The court has now given the parliament two years to amend the existing laws or usher in new ones. The court after deliberating on the provisions of Chapter 2 on Marriage of Part IV on Family of the Civil Code which “does not allow two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union of intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together,” has now held that this section was in “violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage as protected by Article 22 and the people’s right to equality as guaranteed by Article 7 of the Constitution.”
If the parliament, the court added, fails to amend the laws or enact a new legislation the couples can have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration.
“If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration, by submitting a written document signed by two or more witnesses in accordance with the said Marriage Chapter,” read the court ruling
The genesis of the case lies in the rejection of a gay activist’s attempt to marry his partner in 2013. Even the release by the court notes the painful ordeal of the petitioner.
“For more than three decades, Petitioner Chia-Wei Chi has been appealing to the legislative, executive, and judicial departments for the right to same-sex marriage,” read the statement.
The court has deliberated on the aspect of “Freedom of marriage” and has stated that such marriages between same sex couples will not alter the social order or hamper a stable society.
“The freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally recognized, will constitute the collective basis, together with opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society. The need, capability, willingness and longing, in both physical and psychological senses, for creating such permanent unions of intimate and exclusive nature are equally essential to homosexuals and heterosexuals, given the importance of the freedom of marriage to the sound development of personality and safeguarding of human dignity,” read the court verdict.
The court ruling is based upon the Article 7 of the Constitution which speaks about “Equality before law” just like Article 14 of the Constitution of India.