March 22, 2019
By: Philppe LeDoux
Edited by: Geoffrey Paschke
JURIST Guest Columnist Philippe LeDoux, International Law Fellow in the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, discusses the pressing deadline for Taiwan’s parliament to amend the law to allow same-sex marriage…
The clock is ticking on the deadline set by the Constitutional Court of Taiwan to amend the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. On May 24, 2017, the court declared Taiwan’s existing marriage law unconstitutional on grounds of discrimination and gave parliament two years to amend it to include same-sex couples. If the government fails to act, the existing marriage provision in the civil code will be extended to same-sex couples starting May 24, 2019.
This ruling was hailed at the time as a ground-breaking step in Asia, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first place in the region to achieve marriage equality. But for activists in Taiwan, the road toward marriage equality has been strewn with obstacles.
In November 2018, the government held a referendum on whether the civil code should restrict marriage to a man and a woman. Of the 55 percent of eligible voters who participated in the referendum, 67 percent voted against marriage equality.