Taiwan’s constitutional court, the Judicial Yuan [official website], declared on Wednesday that same-sex marriages will be legally recognized. The court has given two years for the legislature to make amendments allowing same-sex marriage, and a draft of the bill [AI news] is currently being considered. Under the new legislation, same-sex couples will have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. The ruling is a first in Asia [Reuters report], a mostly socially conservative area, but Taiwan has a reputation of being on the progressive forefront for the region. In the last year, the Democratic Progressive Party [party website, in Chinese] swept the national elections on the self-ruled island. Taiwan has a large gay community and holds [CNN report] the biggest gay pride celebration in Asia annually. The country’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen [BBC profile], expressed support for the LGBT community during her campaign in 2016.
Despite the increase in countries ruling in favor of same-sex marriage [Reuters map], many are still prosecuted around the world for engaging in homosexual relationships. Last month Nigerian prosecutors in Kaduna charged 53 men [JURIST report] for celebrating an LGBTQ wedding in violation of the state’s law against ‘unlawful assembly’ and the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act [text]. Earlier last month Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups urged [JURIST report] UN Secretary General to investigate alleged abuse against LGBT people in Chechnya. According to the open letter about 100 gay and bisexual men have been detained, went missing, were tortured, or were murdered under the authority of Chechen officials. Also in April A UK high court stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of a gay British man, Rosslee Charles, to Turkey given concerns over his safety. In March Germany Justice Minister Heiko Maas [official profile] announced that the country’s cabinet has approved a measure [JURIST report] to pardon and provide compensation to approximately 50,000 men convicted under a Nazi-era law against homosexuality.