24/05/2017 14:51 SAST

Taiwan Court Paves The Way For Legalising Same-Sex Marriage

The country's top court has given two years for Parliament to amend or pass new legislation permitting same-sex marriage.

Taiwan LGBT Pride

Taiwan's top court on Wednesday has said current marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

The court, known as the Judicial Yuan, has allotted a period of two years for Parliament to amend laws or pass new legislation allowing for same-sex marriage, according to Reuters.

The ruling will pave the way for Taiwan to become the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

A statement from the court said current provisions of the marriage chapter denying two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union is a "obviously gross legislative flaw", according to The Telegraph. It added the ruling would contribute to social stability and "protect human dignity".

Twelve out of 14 grand justices voted in favour of the ruling. A majority of 10 was required.

'Anger among conservative groups'

Momentum for marriage equality in Taiwain has been built in recent years, including support from President Tsai Ing-wen who openly supports same sex-marriage.

The self-ruled nation, over which China claims sovereignty, has also seen backlash from groups against same-sex marriage, according to the BBC.

Following a legislative amendment in December which included same-sex marriage in the country's civil code, the anti-LEGT Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan vowed to protest the change, according to PinkNews.

Chang Shou-yi, head of the group, said, "What gay activists want is for their lifestyle to be affirmed by society, but why do they need to change the traditional institution of marriage, which goes back thousands of years?".

10 years of same-sex marriage in South Africa

South Africa, meanwhile, saw the passing of a law in November 2006 enabling same-sex couples to legally marry. It is the first and only African country to date that has legalised same-sex marriage.

South Africa's Constitution also explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Activists and several NGOs, however, continue to lament reported cases of discrimination, corrective rape, torture and murder of LGBTIQ+ people in the country.