Taiwan holds first same-sex marriages in Asia

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They held a religious blessing conducted by a progressive Buddhist master in 2012 but longed for the same legal rights granted heterosexuals.

Gay couple Cynical Chick (L) and Li Ying-Chien wait for wedding register at the Household Registration Office in Shinyi district in Taipei on May 24, 2019. "Now that same-sex marriage is legally recognized, to be to stop my parents maybe, finally, to try to persuade me to the wedding with a man".

A gay couple who have been in a relationship for the past 12 years were one of the first to get married, the state run Central News Agency reported. The couple - along with dozens of others - walked down a rainbow aisle at a party to celebrate the historic day, surrounded by friends, family, diplomats and reporters.

"Today I can say in front of so many people that we are gay and we are getting married". "As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan's democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia".

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Taiwan's parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage, although the measure could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen's bid for re-election next year. Next demand for same sex couples in Taiwan is about adoption of children.

After decades of campaigning and waiting, Taiwan has welcomed hundreds of same-sex couples as they exercised their new legal rights to tie the knot.

It was Chi who eventually petitioned Taiwan's Constitutional Court leading to a 2017 judgement that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional. "I am honoured to witness Friday's marriage registrations", Chi told AFP. Already, the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia.

Conservative and religious groups mobilised after the court ruling and comfortably won a series of referendums last November in which voters comprehensively rejected defining marriage as anything other than a union between a man and a woman. Only a week earlier, the Parliament had adopted a law on the introduction of gay marriage. But the issue of LGBT rights has polarized society.

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