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Taiwan Legalizes Same-Sex Union

Taiwan’s parliament legalized same-sex marriage on Friday, in a landmark first for Asia, as the government survived a last-minute attempt by conservatives to pass a watered-down version.

The island’s lawmakers comfortably passed a law allowing same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions”, and a second clause, that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.

The vote came after Taiwan’s top court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution, reported Al Jazeera.

The vote is a major victory for the island’s LGBT community, who have campaigned for years to have similar of equal marriage rights as heterosexual couples, and places the island at the vanguard of Asia’s burgeoning gay rights movement.

In recent months, conservatives had mobilized to rid the law of any reference to marriage, instead of putting forward rival bills, that offered something closer to limited same-sex unions. But those bills struggled to receive enough votes.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered despite heavy rain near Taipei’s parliament, as a mammoth legislative debate got underway over an issue that has bitterly divided the island.

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