The decades-long work of activists across the vast continent of Asia to achieve marriage equality may finally bear fruit this week in Taiwan. The country’s Constitutional Court is expected to issue a ruling on May 24 on a marriage equality case brought by a veteran LGBTQ activist with support from authorities in the capital city, Taipei.
Two HRC Global Innovators — Jennifer Lu, from the inaugural HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit class in 2016, and Sean Sih-Cheng Du, from this year’s class — have been working with the Marriage Equality Coalition in Taiwan.
Lu, who represents the coalition in a national marriage equality dialogue with the government, is also a former candidate for a parliamentary seat. In recent messages to HRC Global, she has expressed optimism about the coming decision. “In our prediction, the result…might stand closer to our side,” she said.
Regardless of the court’s ruling, the National Yuan, or legislature, will need to enact legislation or reconcile an existing bill to facilitate the decision. The three potential outcomes are full marriage equality, civil unions, or some other form of recognition for same-sex relationships.
Lu, Du and the Marriage Equality Coalition plan to launch a campaign on the day of the verdict to press the National Yuan for swift action to carry out the letter and spirit of the ruling.
The odds of achieving marriage equality in Taiwan increased dramatically last January when Taiwan elected pro-equality candidate Tsai Ing-Wen as the country’s first female president. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party, the president publicly declared her support for marriage equality in a short video in October 2015 on the day of Taipei Pride. Three HRC staff were on the ground in Taipei that day, marching alongside more than 80,000 people. Taipei Pride that year set the record as Asia’s largest ever Pride gathering.
HRC Global sends our best wishes to Global Innovators Lu, Du and their LGBTQ colleagues in Taiwan through a video message as they await the outcome of the court’s decision.
Read more about our work supporting Taiwanese activists and advocates all around the world here.