(Photo Credits: JeanHavoc [CC BY-SA 4.0])

Taiwan is poised to become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage next month, May 24, 2019.

Gay couples who plan to get married can now book appointments for marriage registration following the announcement of the Taipei City Government Tuesday this week (April 23) that they have already opened the advance registration for the LGBT community.  

And, according to a non-governmental LGBT organization called Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) in a Facebook post, at least 157 same-sex couples in Taiwan are set to get married at household registration offices on the first day that same-sex marriage will become legal in their country. This is by virtue of a Constitutional Court ruling on May 24, 2017 declaring that it is unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex marriage in the Civil Code. Said court had ordered relevant authorities to amend or enact laws “in accordance with the court’s interpretation No. 748 within two years from the day of the ruling,” Taiwan News reports.

Some of the world’s leading corporations have expressed their “optimism about the economic outlook of Taiwan” after the ruling. Among such companies are “Google, Airbnb, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, EY, Mastercard, and Taiwan’s O-Bank Co.”

“We value diversity, inclusivity, respect, equality and non-discrimination,” reads a statement released by Microsoft Taiwan through Patrick Pan (潘先國) as printed in Taiwan News. They added that, “such an act is not only the right thing to do, but will also lead to a ‘stronger and more successful society.'”

However, a referendum conducted last November showed that 6,949,697 Taiwanese voters are against “same-sex marriage legalization through amendments to the Civil Code” and only 3,382,286 are in favor. As a result, a bill called “The Enforcement Act of Referendum No. 12” was drafted to counter “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 bill.” The former is said to have been drafted by “anti-LGBTI campaigners and offers very limited rights” and it also states that the words “marriage” and “spouse” are for heterosexual couples only. 

Both bills are said to have been sent to a second reading last March and both have to pass a third reading before becoming a law.

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