Asia Minute: Dramatic Week for Gay Rights in Asia

May 25, 2017

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It’s been a dramatic week in Asia for the gay community. Taiwan has moved a step closer to becoming the first government in Asia to approve same-sex marriage. And about 2,400 miles away, more than a hundred people were arrested because of suspicions about their sexual orientation. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


The top court in Taiwan has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Wednesday’s decision by the panel of 14 grand justices found the current law banning same-sex marriage violates the constitution.

Local media report more than 20,000 supporters of marriage equality rallied after the ruling was announced.

Taiwan’s government first proposed legalizing same-sex marriage 14 years ago, but the measure has never passed the legislature.

A draft law is again making its way through the body and this time may well be different, in part because of strong support from President Tsai Ing-wen.

It’s a very different story nearly 2,500 miles away in Jakarta—where Indonesian police arrested 141 men at a sauna on Monday telling the media they were attending what they called a “gay party.”

Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia, but human rights workers say officials sometimes use pornography laws to arrest gays and lesbians.

In the province of Aceh, Islamic Sharia law applies. And on Tuesday, two men were caned 83 times for engaging in consensual gay sex—which is a crime in the province.

Amnesty International says caning is “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and called on provincial officials to stop the practice.