By: Sarah Yi (Correspondent)
Taiwan is the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage. Tears of joy spread across the nation and they hope that this will spark a ripple effect across Asia.
According to the Washington Post, “Taiwan’s high court ruled on May 24, 2017, that barring same-sex couples from marrying violates the Taiwanese constitution and gave the legislature two years to pass a corresponding law or see same-sex marriage become legalized automatically.”
Coordinator of the rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan Jennifer Lu says Taiwan has shown that “traditional culture is not against LGBT culture.”
According to Forbes, “The law is the result of a four-year battle waged by gay rights activist Chi Chia-Wei, who first petitioned the court in 2015.”
“Taipei city officials representing three same-sex couples, who sued the government for rejecting their marriage registrations, filed a similar petition that same year,” said Forbes.
Freshman Hanna Bielawa says that as half Taiwanese, she is so proud. “This makes me incredibly happy about my country,” said Bielawa.
Bielawa thinks this moment in history definitely affected the Taiwan community. “Many people don’t recognize Taiwan as its own country, and now with this, hopefully, more people will,” added Bielawa.
“I’m an LGBTQ+ individual, and every country should be accepting of everyone’s identities,” said Bielawa. They say other Asian countries should absolutely legalize gay marriage too. “It’s not hurting anybody, so why do people have to be against it?” added Bielawa.
“Since Taiwan is technically separate from China, hopefully, China will follow,” said Bielawa. They think that other countries in Asian probably have mixed feelings about Taiwan now that they are known for the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage.
“Asia is known to have some of the strictest rules when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, so with this advancement, hopefully, more countries will follow,” said Bielawa.
Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) advisor Ms. Hannah Cohen says that she is incredibly proud of Taiwan for taking this step.”It can be difficult to be the first country in a region to take the leap and I am very happy to hear that the global trend of marriage equality is extending into Asia,” said Cohen.
“Obviously there have been a wide variety of reactions in the region but I hope that this will give hope to LGBTQ+ communities throughout Asia and give more politicians the courage to pass similar legislation,” added Cohen. She says that this has affected the LGBTQ+ community not just in Taiwan and Asia but in the West as well.
Cohen says any victory on the path to global marriage equality is positive. “I expect to see larger movements throughout the rest of Asia in response to this since it’s proven that this type of legislation can succeed,” said Cohen.
She hopes that as we see this trend continue, more countries will legalize marriage equality. “I think it’s important that we understand that this is a long road for many countries in Asia and just because Taiwan has taken this step does not mean we will quickly see other countries in the region adopting similar legislation,” said Cohen.
Cohen says the passage of laws like this reflect a change in the values of a community and some countries are still very far from feeling that change. In addition, she says forcing our culture’s values onto another can often cause a backlash.
“Some countries will see this as an opportunity to begin pushing their own legislation and I expect some countries will use this as an impetus to reinforce traditional values in opposition,” added Cohen. She says she doesn’t expect Taiwan to face any serious repercussions from a trade or diplomatic perspective any more than the current tensions it faces from China and their allies.
“It will be interesting to see for the countries that do use this as an opportunity to push their own legislation whether they chose to cite Taiwan as a reason for doing so or choose to point to other models for comparison,” Cohen concluded.