Taiwan's parliament on Friday discussed measures to legalize same-sex marriage ahead of a landmark vote that could make the self-ruled island the first in Asia to adopt such legislation, despite deep divisions over marriage equality. In Taipei, the capital, thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside parliament, which was set to vote on a series of bills that could offer same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage as heterosexuals.
"Today, we have a chance to make history and show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society," President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Twitter. "Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins," added Tsai, who campaigned on a promise of marriage equality in 2016 polls.
The vote will follow a years-long debate over marriage equality. In 2017, the democratic island's constitutional court declared same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a deadline of May 24 for legalisation. Australia passed laws allowing same-sex marriage in 2017, sparking rainbow celebrations, but Hong Kong and neighbouring China, which regards the island as a wayward province to be brought back into the fold, do not recognise such unions.
(With inputs from agencies.)