An Asian first: Top court in Taiwan rules same-sex marriage legal 4 years ago

An Asian first: Top court in Taiwan rules same-sex marriage legal

It comes two days after the two-year Irish anniversary.

A top court in Taiwan ruled on Wednesday that a marriage should not be restricted to just a man and a woman. It has become the first country in Asia to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot.

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The panel of 14 grand justices ruled that the current definition of marriage in Taiwan's civil law violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection.

The panel also ruled that the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman has to be amended within two years.

In a press release on the panel's ruling, the court said: "If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration, by submitting a written document signed by two or more witnesses in accordance with the said Marriage Chapter."

According to a Singapore-based newspaper, The Straits times, the ruling came about after gay rights activist, Chi Chia-Wei, had his application to marry his long-time partner rejected in 2013.

The panel was undecided, however, on whether to directly change the civil code, which looks after family law, or to create a brand new individual law for same-sex couples.

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Conservative groups in the country have opposed the ruling, saying that allowing same-sex unions would destroy family values and some have taken to the streets in recent months to march against the idea.

The landmark decision is a fantastic success for LGBT activists in Taiwan, which hosts a gay pride parade drawing tens of thousands each year.