Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen remained non-committal Monday on whether her government will actively push for quick implementation of a landmark court ruling last year which paved the way for same-sex couples to marry.
Taiwan’s top court in May 2017 legalised gay marriage – the first place in Asia to do so – and ruled its decision must be implemented within two years. Should the government fail to approve legislation within the deadline, the court ordered that gay marriage automatically become legal anyway.
Campaigners were hoping Tsai would help press for a decision in parliament ahead of the two-year mark, but couples are still waiting to tie the knot over a year after the court ruling.
In an interview with AFP today, when asked if she would push the issue, Tsai said the government would “bridge the differences society holds on this issue in order to propose a comprehensive bill”.
She cast the issue as dividing generations in Taiwan. “Same-sex marriage is also a reflection of the generational gap. In Taiwan, those above 40 tend to have different views to those under 40,” she told AFP.
Conservative groups have staged mass protests against legalising same-sex unions and have accused the courts of bypassing the government on the issue.
Tsai described the court ruling as “one phase” of the reform and said the government must abide by its decision. Taiwan is seen as one of the most progressive societies in Asia when it comes to gay rights, and it stages the biggest gay pride parade in Asia annually.
Tsai has openly supported the legalisation of gay marriage, but since last year’s decision by the constitutional court her majority government has been accused of dragging its feet on implementing the change.
The ruling said the island’s current laws preventing same-sex unions violate the constitution’s guarantees of freedom of marriage and equality, a move welcomed by activists around the world.