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Same-sex marriage bill a proud day in Taiwan: President Tsai

2019-05-18  English News
Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei, May 17 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen said she was excited Friday to see the Legislature pass a bill that gives same-sex couples the right to get married.

"Today is a proud day for Taiwan. It is the day Taiwan let the world see the goodness and value of this land," said Tsai on a visit to the southern municipal city of Tainan.

Taiwan made history Friday as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, with the same-sex marriage bill clearing the legislative floor at 3:30 p.m. that day.

The new law will take effect May 24, allowing two persons of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register their marriage, with a minimum of two witnesses signing the registration document.

Marriage equality was one of Tsai's political platforms during her presidential campaign in 2016. Asked about Friday's legislation, the first female president of Taiwan, who assumed office on May 20, 2016, told the press that under the law, everyone is now treated equally and fairly.

Meanwhile, in a post on her Facebook page, Tsai said those who support and oppose same-sex marriage should stop attacking each other. "Starting today (we) show more empathy and love those around (us)."

"I want to offer my congratulations to same-sex couple friends, who have won society's blessing," wrote Tsai in the post. She invited all same-sex couples to honor and hold fast to their oath of love for each other.

To those with different beliefs, Tsai also extended her gratitude. "Thank you for understanding," she wrote.

Premier Su Tseng-chang praised the legislation on his Facebook page, saying the new law lets the world see Taiwan as a nation where people are willing to treat those with different beliefs with tolerance and kindness.

On his Instagram page, Su posted a photo with his wife Chan Hsiu-ling. In the post he wrote: "Congratulations, now everyone can get married. Marriage, however, is no joke! #Advice from a man who has been married 45 years."

The same-sex marriage bill was proposed to update the law after Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748 issued on May 24, 2017.

In its ruling, the court said that under the Constitution, same-sex couples in Taiwan have the right to marry and that if lawmakers did not enact a law within two years to reflect that right, same-sex marriage would automatically be allowed in the country.