Taiwan parliament weighs landmark same-sex measures ahead of vote


A same-sex marriage supporter holds rose to mourn those who committed suicide due to discrimination during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s parliament on Friday discussed measures to legalize same-sex marriage ahead of a landmark vote that could make the self-ruled island the first in Asia to adopt such legislation, despite deep divisions over marriage equality.

In Taipei, the capital, thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside parliament, which was set to vote on a series of bills that could offer same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage as heterosexuals.

“Today, we have a chance to make history and show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society,” President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Twitter.

“Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins,” added Tsai, who campaigned on a promise of marriage equality in 2016 polls.

The vote will follow a years-long debate over marriage equality. In 2017, the democratic island’s constitutional court declared same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a deadline of May 24 for legalization.

Australia passed laws allowing same-sex marriage in 2017, sparking rainbow celebrations, but Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards the island as a wayward province to be brought back into the fold, do not recognize such unions.

Reporting by Yimou Lee, I-Hwa Cheng and Taipei newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and James Pomfret

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