Taiwan might become the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage

Recently, Taiwan LGBT activist has pressed for right to marry. With people gathering around for gay pride parade, Taiwan activists, including pastors and foreign tourists have all taken part in calling on the government to take legislative actions.

“Tell you Story, Vote for Equality”, the campaign promotes marriage equality as a basic human right and love should be equal to all.

This is the 16th annual gay pride event in Taiwan and seemingly the largest in East Asia. It is not usual to have Christians and priests for South Korea or even Malaysia attending the parade, talking about violation of gay human rights.

Just two days ago, 27 companies in Taiwan has signed statement in support of LGBT rights, hoping to make a change in the upcoming midterm elections on 24 November. The companies include “big names” like Google and Microsoft, alongside with many global enterprises and local businesses. They believe by supporting and legislating gay marriage rights, it could highly improve gender discrimination in workplace or in community as a whole. Some even believe it will help increase competitiveness regarding Taiwan’s economic status.

In May, Taiwan court ruled in favour of gay marriage, regarded Article 972 of the Civil Code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, as “unconstitutional”. The court gave the government two years to amend or set up a new form of legislation introducing marriage equality. The progress has stalled as months gone by and no constructive measures were taken by President Tsai Ing-wen.

In Hong Kong, according to a report done by the University of Hong Kong in July, half of the respondents support the idea of gay couples to wed, a drastic 12% increase in these four years. Also a significant rise supporting the overall LGBT community. More people now believe same-sex partners should be able to inherit property and allow to visit each other in hospital during hours for family visits.

“I don’t think Hong Kong is going to legalise same-sex marriage any time soon just because Taiwan advocates it,” said Sam, a bi-sexual student studies in the University of Hong Kong. “So far from political stances in jury cases and the Hong Kong government’s response, the traditional family ideology still plays a signifiant role in law-making or any legislative decisions, despite the so-called active LGBT movement such as pink-dot and Pride Parade. We can see that the government failed to take any pro-LGBT action nor make any constructive statement.”

A lot of churches are still against the concept of gay or homosexual and believe it is actually a “sin”. Some churches would even try to “heal” homosexuals by teaching them knowledge of the Bible. However, there is an increase amount of Christian coming out and unveiling their hidden sexuality. There are now churches for gay people and as mentioned above, Christians going to campaigns on promoting LGBT rights.

“I do not hate my church for not being pro-gay,” said Sam who was once a Christian but stopped going to church. “I believe if you want them to accept us (homosexual people), we should also accept their principles and religion.”

In September, Hong Kong, for the first time recognises overseas same-sex partnerships while granting spousal visas. It is seen to be one of the “breakthrough” for LGBT rights, but also arouses certain concern members and opponents of such rights to remind the government in making sure such policy would not advocate and lead to extra rights for gay couples.

Opposing the pro-LGBT legislation, the religious groups also attend the campaign yesterday In Victoria Park during Pink Season, the five-week festival of LGBT-themed events that ends on November 3rd. “Call for the Law, Equality for All”, twelve thousands of marchers took not he streets for the annual Hong Kong Pride Parade, marking the end of the event’s 10th anniversary.

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Image retrieved from HKFP.