• A picture of Tsai Ing-wen, during a rally campaign ahead of the Taiwanese presidential election on January 15, 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Taiwan's new president is an outspoken same-sex marriage advocate, so will we see the country achieve marriage equality before Australia?
By
Drew Sheldrick

18 Jan 2016 - 11:24 AM  UPDATED 18 Jan 2016 - 11:24 AM

Taiwan elected its first female president at the weekend, with Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen defeating the ruling Kuomintang party's Eric Chu with 56.1 per cent of the vote.

Tsai Ing-wen has been an outspoken gay rights advocate in the lead-up to this year's election, sharing videos and posting messages of support on social media.

In one such post to coincide with a 2015 gay pride parade in Taipei, she wrote:

"In the face of love, everyone is equal. Let everyone have the freedom to love and to pursue their happiness. I am Tsai Ing-wen, and I support marriage equality."

Taiwan has long been seen as the most LGBT-friendly country in the region, with a thriving gay scene, large rallies in support of gay rights, and numerous attempts to legislate for same-sex marriage.

In 2015, a poll commissioned by Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice found 71 per cent of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage.

A same-sex marriage bill passed an initial reading in Taiwan in 2013, but failed to garner enough support from the then ruling Kuomintang party to go any further.

Taiwan's two largest cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung, allow same-sex couples to register their relationships for access to some legal rights. The cities also collaborated on ensuring couples registered in once city would be recognised in the other as of January 1 this year.

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen has yet to detail how she might pursue legislating same-sex marriage in the island nation.

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