Asia is, and always has been, big on patriarchy and heteronormativity. So, it is no surprise that most Asian countries frown upon, even criminalize, homosexuality.
Taiwan is all set to break the mold and become the first Asian country to introduce marriage equality into its Constitution. In a groundbreaking move last month, Taiwan’s ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party, introduced a bill that would eliminate gender from the national constitution’s definition of marriage, opening it to any two people.
The catalyst behind this impending decision is the tragic suicide of 67 year-old French professor, Jacques Picoux, who killed himself shortly after his partner of many years succumbed to cancer. Picoux was deeply depressed because Taiwan’s current laws did not allow him any say in critical decisions regarding his partner’s medical care, nor was he allowed any legal claim to property the two of them had shared.
On Saturday, a crowd 80,000-strong, took to the streets of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, as part of the city’s Pride parade, demanding marriage equality.
Pride Watch activist Cindy Su said,
We actually can see that there are about 66 legislators who will probably vote yes on marriage equality. That’s a majority of 58.4 percent, the first time in Taiwanese history that we have more than half.
Kudos to the Taiwanese government for taking a step in the right direction! Here’s hoping other Asian countries find the courage, and the compassion, to follow suit. Because everyone, regardless of age, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race, should have the right to a life of dignity. And love.