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First of Taiwan's same-sex couples get married after legalisation

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 24, 2019 - Duration: 01:33s

First of Taiwan's same-sex couples get married after legalisation

According to government data, 360 same-sex couples have tied the knot on Friday (May 24), the first day that gay marriage became legal in Taiwan.

Jayson Albano reports.

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First of Taiwan's same-sex couples get married after legalisation

It's official - these couples are legally married in Taiwan.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 39-YEAR-OLD STYLIST, CELINE CHEN, SAYING: "Yesterday I suggested that we slap each other since it feels like a dream.

I think it's unbelievable that Taiwan is the first to legalise gay marriage in Asia.

I'm very moved." Friday (May 24) was the first day same-sex marriage was legal in Taiwan.

Officially more than 360 couples registered on the day.

And they are all the first legal same-sex marriages in Asia.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 32-YEAR-OLD NEWLYWED, LIN MENG-HUAN, SAYING: "I think it's a very difficult thing in ethnic Chinese culture, especially for men.

We have been very lucky to have support from our families.

After this new law has passed, even more traditional families will be willing to try and consider it normal for two men to be together and get married." They've all waited since 2017 to finally marry.

That's when the constitutional court declared same-sex couples had that right.

It took years of debates over marriage equality that divided the self-ruled island.

The court then set a two-year deadline for legislation.

The new law has solidified Taiwan as one of the region's more liberal societies.

That's in stark contrast to communist mainland China, which regards Taiwan as its own - and a wayward province.

Domestically it may also end up damaging the ruling government.

President Tsai Ying-wen's running for re-election next year.

However, conservative groups opposed to same-sex marriage say the new law disrespected the people's will.

For now, Taiwan's gay community has a reason to celebrate.

For the newlyweds, its euphoric - walking down rainbow-coloured aisles among family and friends.

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