Taiwan’s government has made history by becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in East Asia.
The vote on Friday met the two-year deadline to pass the rulings imposed by Taiwan’s constitutional court that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry back in 2017.
Parliament was reportedly required to pass the changes by May 24, BBC reports.
Three different bills on legalizing same-sex unions were the subject of debates among Taiwanese lawmakers. The government’s bill, which is considered to be the most progressive of the three, was passed.
When the landmark ruling was announced, thousands of gay rights supporters outside the parliament building erupted in celebration.
But while many welcomed the decision with joy and excitement among supporters, some conservative opponents were angered by the vote.
Conservative lawmakers proposed the two other bills which referred to partnerships as “same-sex family relationships” or “same-sex unions” rather than “marriages.”
Meanwhile, the government’s bill retained the term marriages, while also offering limited adoption rights.
Backed by lawmakers from the majority Democratic Progressive Party, the bill was passed by 66 to 27 votes. It was the only version that many same-sex activists said they would accept.
“I’m very surprised – but also very happy. It’s a very important moment in my life,” Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan chief coordinator Jennifer Lu was quoted as saying.
“However, it’s still not full marriage rights; we still need to fight for co-adoption rights, and we are not sure about a foreigner and Taiwanese marriage, and also gender equality education. It’s a very important moment, but we are going to keep on fighting. We are Taiwanese and we want this important value for our country, for our future,” she added.
The bill is set to take effect after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen passes it into law.