Same-sex couples tied the knot in emotional scenes in Taiwan on Friday, the first legal marriages in Asia hailed by activists as a social revolution for the region. Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage.
More than 160 same-sex couples married Friday, according to government data, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.
Twenty couples queued to tie the knot at a marriage registration office in downtown Taipei, where rainbow flags were on display alongside stacks of government-issued, rainbow-themed registration forms.
“I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married,” said Shane Lin, a 31-year-old baker who with his partner were the first couple to register in the Taipei office. “I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,” said a tearful Lin.
The euphoria and emotion among the island’s gay community was on display as newly-wed couples walked down a rainbow-colored carpet in a nearby park, watched by families and friends as well as diplomats and reporters.
‘The right we deserved’
Chi Chia-wei, an activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, congratulated the couples.
“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago,” he said, draped in a giant rainbow flag that symbolizes the colors of the international gay movement.
“As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” he added.