Taiwan moved a step closer to becoming the first country in Asia to legalise same sex marriage after draft bills of same-sex marriage legislation passed parliament's judiciary committee on Monday in Taipei.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the legislative yuan, with just a thin line of police separating those supporting and those against the move to legalise same-sex marriage.
The bill will be debated by all parties in late April, when Taiwan's Yuan resumes after its recess. The bill will need to pass this reading, and a third and final reading to become law.
"We are opening the door to allow gay friends to be able to express their love so that everyone can pursue happiness," Yu Mei-nu, a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party told hundreds of cheering activists outside the parliament right after the bill passed the committee stage.
"I am really happy," said Samuel Yang, 38 told Nikkei Asia Review. "The bill may finally help the public understand the gay community better and reduce discrimination." Yang said he has been participating in the gay rights movement since he was 19, when he came out to his family.