• LGBT community members march while displaying a rainbow banner outside the Taiwan Parliament building in Taipei, Taiwan, 26 December 2016. (EPA)Source: EPA
A panel of 14 judges will decide whether Taiwan's Civil Code (that says marriage is between a man and a woman) is unconstitutional.
By
Michaela Morgan

24 May 2017 - 11:19 AM  UPDATED 24 May 2017 - 11:21 AM

Taiwan could soon become the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, pending the outcome of a historic court case this Wednesday afternoon.

A panel of 14 judges have been given the task of deciding whether a line in Taiwan’s Civil Code—that rules marriage is between a man and a woman—is actually unconstitutional.

LGBT+ activists are hopeful that the court will rule in their favour as the Taiwan constitution guarantees “equality and freedom of marriage”.

Chi Chia-wei has been campaigning for marriage equality for 30 years—and told AFP that he is “100 per cent confident” of a positive outcome for Taiwan’s gay community.

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Protestors march against same-sex marriage in Taiwan
The Rescue Taiwan Hope Alliance says the Taiwanese government should put the issue on hold.

Public opinion has been sharply divided on the issue—with large protests against same-sex marriage taking place— as well as pro-gay rallies—in the lead up to the decision.

At least 10 of the 14 judges must rule in favour of same-sex marriage in order for it to be legalised, AFP reports.

The bill was drafted by Yu Mei-nu from Democratic Progressive Party who says that support from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen could be crucial in passing the law.

“If the grand justices make a decision that is not very clear, and it depends on a legislative yuan [parliament] vote, then it will be difficult. I think most legislators will abstain,” she told the Guardian.

“We want her (Tsai) to be braver. If she can come out and say ‘yes I support it’ then it will be passed.”

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Some supporters of the bill say they are disappointed that the president has not taken a clear stance on marriage equality.

“It’s a little bit depressing for us,” student Vic Chiang told the Guardian.

“Before the election, she was really pro-gay rights. But now she has kind of disappeared."

The decision will be posted online in both Chinese and English on Wednesday at 4pm Taipei time.