Lesbians tie knot as Taiwan becomes first Asian country to allow same sex marriages - Evewoman
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Lesbians tie knot as Taiwan becomes first Asian country to allow same sex marriages

Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate after the Taiwan's parliament legalised gay marriage (Courtesy)

Lesbians Chu Pei-syuan and Liang Tsung-hui will this week tie the knot for the second time - but this time in their home country.

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This is after Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow same-sex marriage.

Taiwan's parliament legalised gay marriage last week, reinforcing its reputation as a beacon of liberalism in Asia, but the move has divided the self-ruled island.

The bill, which offers same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage to heterosexuals, will take effect on Friday and Chu and Liang will be among the first to wed under the new law.

"Finally we are no longer strangers in the eye of the law - we will be recognised as a couple," 32-year-old Chu, a part-time retail worker, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the capital Taipei.

The pair, who met 12 years ago when they volunteered at an LGBT+ charity and fell in love, married in Canada in 2012, using up three years of savings to travel there.

But the marriage was only "symbolic" as it was not recognised back home, said Liang, a 35-year-old social worker.

This Friday, they will join about 200 gay couples who have booked to register their marriages on the first day of the law being in force, with mass weddings also planned.

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The couple will tie the knot for a second time

The bill passed just days before a deadline set by a top court which ruled in 2017 that Taiwan must legalise same-sex marriage by May 24 - and it was not without controversy.

Two-thirds of voters in a November referendum voted to retain the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman under the current civil law.

Same-sex marriage in Taiwan will be allowed under a separate new law - a move government said respected both the court ruling and the referendum results.

Even then, conservative and religious groups tried to stage a last-ditch attempt last week for a watered-down version of the bill which offered less protections, but failed.

There will be limitations under the new law, however.

It allows same-sex marriages only between Taiwanese, or with foreigners whose countries recognise same-sex marriage.

Same-sex couples will only be allowed to adopt children biologically related to at least one of them.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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