Taiwan has just become the first Asian country to begin the process of legalizing same-sex marriage.
The nation’s highest court, the council of grand justices, ruled that barring the people’s right to marry whomever they choose was unconstitutional. Only 2 of the 14 judges present voted against the ruling.
“Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” the court said in its ruling. “The freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally recognized, will constitute the collective basis, together with opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society.”
“Disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders, is a different treatment, also obviously having no rational basis. Such different treatment is incompatible with the spirit and meaning of the right to equality as protected by Article 7 of the Constitution.”
Though it is unclear as to whether same-sex couples will have the same rights under the new legislation as heterosexual marriages, LGBT activists are already campaigning for parliament to give them equal adoption, visitation, and inheritance rights, among others. The current Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, has been openly supportive of LGBT rights since she was elected as the first female president in the history of the nation.
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