The top court of Taiwan has just ruled in favour of same-sex marriages, making it the first place in Asia to allow such marriages. The court pronounced that marriage cannot be restricted to a man and a woman only.

A panel of 14 judges ruled that restricting marriage to just a man and a woman violates constitutional provision of equal protection, and directed the government to change the law within two years. “If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration, by submitting a written document signed by two or more witnesses in accordance with the said Marriage Chapter,” the Constitutional Court said in a press release on the panel’s ruling.

The judgement came after activistChi Chia-wei, 59, challenged the Taipei city government’s rejection of his and his long-time partner’s application to marry in 2013.

The judgement is expected to have a huge influence in Asian countries, which are still fighting for LGBT rights. A larger constitutional bench of the Indian Supreme Court too has agreed to hear arguments on repeal of Section 377.

Sukhdeep Singh