Taiwan started to think over gay marriage after the death of gay professor

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A model of a rainbow-coloured paper plane is carried by activists during a demonstration outside the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) to demand rights on same-sex marriages in Taipei on July 11, 2015. Hundreds of people marched in Taiwan in support for a controversial bill on same-sex marriage under screening in parliament. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Jacques Picoux’s death was described as a ‘pivotal moment’ by the LGBT community of Taiwan. Seen by many as one of the most progressive countries in Asia on LGBT rights, Taiwan recognizes same-sex relationships only in part. Picoux lost his life after falling ten floors from his Taipei apartment block. His friends believe it was suicide, blaming the recent loss of his partner of nearly 40 years, Tseng Ching-chao, who died of cancer last year. He faced further heartbreak after his lack of legal status denied him the right to lead medical decisions in Tseng’s dying moments. Picoux later found himself with no legal claim over the property they shared.

Following a surge in public sympathy for Picoux, a new draft bill aimed at legalising same-sex marriage was tabled by the ruling Democratic Progressive party [DPP]. “This story touched people,” the DPP’s Yu Mei-nu – who drafted the new law – said. “The LGBT group were very angry. It has put a lot of pressure on our party and on other parties.”Over 80,000 activists are expected to take to the streets of the country’s capital, Taipei, on Saturday for what is expected to be Asia’s largest ever LGBT pride parade.

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