Taiwan plans to be the first in Asia to recognize gay marriages

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A same sex couple cut a cake during a mass "wedding" party event in Taipei on August 21, 2011. About 80 lesbian couples tied the knot in Taiwan's biggest same-sex wedding party in the hope that the island will soon follow New York to legalise gay marriage, organisers said. Same sex marriages are currently not legally recognised in Taiwan. AFP PHOTO / Sam YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

The country is one of the most progressive in Asia on LGBT rights, providing some LGBT rights protections and allowing some limited recognition of same-sex relationships. The country’s lawmakers claim that the bill to officially recognize same-sex marriages is already in work.

The bill would change the definition of marriage to specify it is between two people, rather than between a “man and woman”. As the legislation heads towards Parliament, hopes are high that it could pass – making Taiwan the first country in Asia to permit same-sex couples to marry. The country’s President, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, previously expressed support for equal marriage.

There is some opposition to the legislation, however, primarily from Western-inspired fundamentalist church groups, who have some influence in the region. The anti-LGBT Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan has vowed to protest the change.

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