Conversation: What will Taiwan’s same-sex marriage law mean for Asia?

Will Taiwan’s same-sex marriage law lead to a domino effect of similar legislation in the rest of East Asia? We spoke to a number of Taiwan thought leaders intimately involved in the debate.

  Same love, same rights. Photo courtesy of   Toomore Chiang

Same love, same rights. Photo courtesy of Toomore Chiang

If Taiwan’s proposal for same-sex marriage become law, what kind of impact would it have on Asia?


Huang Chang-ling (黃長玲)
Professor of political science at National Taiwan University

“If the same-sex marriage bill succeeds in Taiwan, it will have a demonstrable effect on East Asian countries and also creates pressure, especially in Japan and South Korea, who are both democratic countries. People who support gender equality in these countries will want to know why Taiwan did it, but their own government’s have not. On a side note, the same-sex marriage bill may not pass this year, but same-sex partners' rights may be legalized.”


Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴)
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator

“Passing same-sex marriage laws will make Taiwan one of the most progressive and tolerant societies in Asia.”


Andrew Chang (張守一)
Secretary-General for the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan

"Same-sex marriage in Taiwan may not succeed. If it does succeed, it wouldn't necessarily cause a domino effect in East Asia due to very different national conditions. Same-sex marriage is not possible in China and North Korea. Seoul is already alarmed by the Taiwan government’s push for same-sex marriage, but the chance of a breakthrough is not high in South Korea. Japan should pay attention to this phenomenon too."


Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯)
Former KMT spokesperson, 2018 KMT Taipei city council candidate

“It lets fellow East Asian countries see Taiwan. Although it’s taken Taiwan a really long time to implement democracy, respect and protection for human rights are highly valued. We’ve done our best to let the people on this island be free.”


Miao Po-ya (苗博雅)
Commentator, NGO advocate, 2018 Social Democratic Party Taipei city council candidate

“East Asian countries can also find a solution--that perfectly demonstrates Constitutionalism--for highly controversial social issues with a democratic approach. I believe this will enhance East Asians' confidence for democracy.”


Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔)
Research associate at the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, 2018 Social Democratic Party Taipei city council candidate

“It shows Asian countries that human rights, equality, and traditional familial values are not necessarily against one another if the same-sex marriage bill passes in Taiwan. It also shows that it's not a so-called ‘western value’ but a ‘universal value’. Moreover, it will help to encourage and consolidate democracy in other Asian countries.”