Taipei: Taiwan’s constitutional court began hearing a landmark case that could make the island the first place in Asia to allow same-sex marriage.
A panel of 14 grand justices will hear a debate over a disputed law that critics say is unconstitutional because it prevents unions between gay couples.
Campaigners for change gathered with rainbow flags outside the court in Taipei, which was heavily guarded yesterday.
“Gay people as citizens deserve equal rights and protections under the law,” 24-year-old salesman Lan Shi-kai said.
Two petitions for an interpretation of Taiwan’s Civil Code have been brought by veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei and the Taipei city government, which has been receiving a growing number of requests to register gay marriages.
Lawyers for Chi, legal experts and government officials will take part in the court debate, with a ruling expected within two months.
“The constitutional court’s decision is legally-binding,” Hsieh Kuo-lien, a law professor at National University of Kaohsiung, said.
“If its decision is favourable to gay rights activists, it would be effectively legalising same-sex marriage.” — AFP
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