The moment we all have been waiting for has come. The first country in Asia to accept same-sex marriages is here!
And of course it is NOT Singapore! (not a surprise to anyone… right??)
The Taiwanese constitutional court declared earlier today (Wednesday May 24th) that same-sex couples have the rights to legally marry and should be given the same legal rights as heterosexual couples currently got, and that the legal system have two years to implement and amend the necessary laws to make this effective.
You can read a slightly longer article about the rulings on Reuters public site here.
From what I can understand from a contact then the Taiwanese immigration authorities will immediately begin to make it easier for overseas married couples to get their spouses into the country when their partner is posted to the country, therefore giving them the same rights as heterosexual expat couples who are relocating to Taiwan for professional reasons. These restrictions should be eased already late this year, or early next year.
Singapore have in the past years gone the other way, and restricted immigration for same-sex couples, so it will in the future become more attractive for highly skilled gay couples to take on assignments in Taiwan and skip Singapore, making it more difficult for Singapore to attract skilled people to the country – something that in the past two years already have been an issue for many companies in Singapore, who have cited the country’s regulations as an issue.
The Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, expect that this ruling will be very positive for the tourism industry, who expect that gay travelers visiting Taiwan will double in the coming years. Gay tourism for US citizens alone is estimated to 65 billion a year and European gay tourists spend in the area of 50bn EUR annually.