In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, and has now approved an amendment to an existing law to allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child to whom neither of them are related, a right previously only open to heterosexual couples and single people.
Previously, if a same-sex couple wanted to adopt a child, only one of them could register as the child’s legal parent.
The introduction of same-sex adoption in Taiwan follows a ruling in December 2021 that challenged the ban, with a gay man in Kaohsiung City being granted the right to adopt his husband’s child.
A family court ruled that 38-year-old Wang Chen-wei’s child, whom he had previously adopted, could also be adopted by his 34-year-old husband Chen Chun-ju.
At the time, the ruling applied only to their specific case and did not legalise same-sex adoption country-wide.
What's life like for LGBTQ people in Taiwan?
In terms of LGBTQ equality, Taiwan has been seen as one of the most progressive countries in Asia. Taiwan Pride attracts huge crowds, and a 2017 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court set Taiwan firmly on the path towards marriage equality.
However, in a referendum held in November 2018, aspirations for marriage equality took a backward step, the most voters supporting a definition of marriage that restricts it to being a union between a man and a woman.
In its 2017 ruling, the Constitutional Court gave Taiwan’s parliament a maximum of two years to amend or enact laws so that same-sex marriage was legally recognised. According to the court ruling, if the Parliament failed to do so by 24 May 2019, same-sex marriage will automatically become legal.
The good news is that Taiwan’s parliament bit the bullet and enacted the legislation required to make marriage equality the law of the land.
Taiwan’s LGBTQ Pride celebrations are held on the last Saturday every October. It’s believed to be the largest gay pride event in East Asia.