Seven facts as Taiwan becomes Asia's first to allow same-sex marriage

The bill, which offers same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage as heterosexuals, will take effect on May 24 after President Tsai Ing-wen signs it into law.

Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate after Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 17, 2019. (photo credit: TYRONE SIU/ REUTERS)
Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate after Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 17, 2019.
(photo credit: TYRONE SIU/ REUTERS)
Taiwan became the first place in Asia on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, after years of struggle for marriage equality that left the self-ruled island deeply divided.
It came just days before the deadline to legalize same-sex marriage imposed by the island's top court in 2017 in a ruling that said the current law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional.
The bill, which offers same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage as heterosexuals, will take effect on May 24 after President Tsai Ing-wen signs it into law.
Gay unions are not recognized by Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be brought back into the fold by force if necessary.
Here are seven facts about same-sex marriage around the world:
1. Same-sex marriage is legal in 26 U.N. member states: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, United States.
2. In some of these countries, such as Mexico and Britain, marriage is only open to same-sex couples in some regions. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom in which same-sex marriage is not allowed.
3. The first country to legalize same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001. The latest was Austria, where the law allowing gay unions took effect on January 1 this year.
4. Same-sex second parents can legally adopt in 30 countries, while 28 allow joint adoption.
5. A push for same-sex marriage is slow elsewhere in Asia. Thailand has drafted a civil partnership bill that would legally recognize same-sex couples as civil partners, but LGBT+ activists protest that the bill does not grant marriage equality.
6. In Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in many countries and can lead to imprisonment or death penalty, South Africa alone has granted the same access to gay couples. Same-sex marriage legislation came into force there in 2006.
7. In a rare move, Bermuda's governor last year approved a bill to reverse the right of gay couples to marry in the British overseas territory. The top court struck down the ban in November but the ruling can still be appealed.


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