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Asia welcomes first Taiwan’s same-sex couples.

Source: Reuters

Same-sex couples tied the knot in emotional scenes in Taiwan on Friday, the first legal marriages in Asia hailed by activists as a social revolution for the region.

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Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage, although the measure could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen’s bid for re-election next year.

More than 360 same-sex couples married on Friday, according to government data, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.

Twenty couples queued at a marriage registration office in downtown Taipei, where rainbow flags were on display alongside stacks of government-issued, rainbow-themed registration forms.

“I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married,” said Shane Lin, a 31-year-old baker who with his partner were the first couple to register in the Taipei office.

“I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,” said a tearful Lin.

The euphoria and emotion within the island’s gay community was on display as newly-wed couples walked down a rainbow-colored carpet in a nearby park, watched by families and friends as well as diplomats and reporters.

Chi Chia-wei, an activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, congratulated the couples.

“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago,” he said, draped in a giant rainbow flag that symbolizes the colors of the international gay movement.

“As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” he added.

Supporters also celebrated on social media, sharing posts with rainbow colors.

Friday’s celebration followed a years-long tussle over marriage equality that culminated in the 2017 declaration by the constitutional court giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and setting a deadline of May 24 for legislation.

Marriage equality was backed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but the measure could complicate President Tsai’s bid for a second term in elections next year.


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