Taiwan: the Triumph of Rights Crusader Chi Chia-wei

On May 24, 2017, Taiwan ignited a beacon of hope for the LGBT community in Asia as its Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Currently, Taiwan is the first country in Asia to take such a stance.

The Court’s ruling was the first step towards officially legalizing same-sex marriage. The Court overturned the traditional definition of marriage stated in the Civil Code, which defined marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. The Court stated in a press release following the ruling that such a preference towards heterosexual couples “is incompatible with the spirit and meaning of the right to equality,” which is promised in Taiwan’s constitution.

It wasn’t until the court faced two petitions that it decided it needed to take legal action against the traditional interpretation of the Civil Code. The first petition was from Chi Chia-wei, a prominent figure and activists for gay rights who wanted to see legislative change. The second petition came from the city government of Taipei, where the capital was being sued for not accepting marriage applications from same-sex couples. With discontent rising amongst LGBT citizens, the Constitutional Court finally sensed the urgency to act immediately. Read more via Asia Media International