Taiwan’s parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday.
Parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by 24 May.
Lawmakers debated three different bills to legalise same-sex unions – the government’s bill – the most progressive of the three was passed.
Hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei, to await the landmark ruling.
There were shouts of joy and some tearful embraces as the result was announced.
What does the bill entail?
The two other bills, submitted by conservative lawmakers, refer to partnerships as “same-sex family relationships” or “same-sex unions” rather than “marriages”.
But the government’s bill, also the only one to offer limited adoption rights, was passed by 66 to 27 votes – backed by lawmakers from the majority Democratic Progressive Party.
It will take effect after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen passes it into law.
Several same-sex activists had said ahead of the vote that this was the only version they would accept.
“The [government]’s bill is already our bottom line, we won’t accept any more compromise,” Jennifer Lu, the chief coordinator of rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan told Reuters.
“If one of the two other bills is passed, we will launch another constitutional court challenge.”
How did we get here?
In 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.
It said then that the island had two years to make necessary changes to the law – it had until 24 May to do so.
But this was met with a public backlash, which pressured the government into holding a series of referendums.
The referendum results showed that a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalising same-sex marriage, saying that the definition of marriage was the union of a man and woman.
As a result, Taiwan said it would not alter its existing definition of marriage in civil law, and instead would enact a special law for same-sex marriage.
What are people saying?
Many took to social media in celebration, seeing the result as a win for marriage equality.
“What a tremendous victory for LGBT rights!” Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch.
“Taiwan’s action today should sound a clarion call, kicking off a larger movement across Asia to ensure equality for LGBT people.”
Earlier on Friday, Ms Tsai said in a tweet that the island had a “chance to make history” with the vote.
However, conservative opponents had warned against the passing of the same-sex marriage bill ahead of the result.
“The [government’s] bill ignores the referendum results and that is unacceptable,” conservative lawmaker Lai Shyh bao had said.