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Hundreds of couples in Taiwan tie the knot, marking the first same-sex marriages in Asia

Same-sex couples say "I do" in Taiwan

Last week, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Today, the first official weddings are underway, marking a historic day for the country. 

After years of debate, Taiwan's legislature passed a law last week allowing same-sex marriage. The vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody. 

The new laws went into effect Friday, and hundreds of couples eagerly seized their first opportunity to finally tie the knot. According to the Associated Press, Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior said 500 same-sex couples registered their marriages across the island on Friday.

Clad in matching pink suits, Shane Lin and Marc Yuan were one of the first couples to marry in Taipei Friday. Their wedding was officiated by gay rights activist Chi Chia-Wei. "I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married," Lin told Reuters. "I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,"

"This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago," Chia-Wei told Reuters. "As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan's democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia."

According to Reuters, Lin and Yuan have been together for 12 years and were the first to register at the Household Registration Office in Taipei. The couple — along with dozens of others — walked down a rainbow aisle at a party to celebrate the historic day, surrounded by friends, family, diplomats and reporters.  

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Taiwans gay activist Chi Chia-Wei signs a wedding certificate for Shane Lin and Marc Yuan.  Sam Yeh / AFP/Getty Images
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Newlyweds walk down a rainbow aisle in Taipei.  Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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Newlyweds walk on a giant rainbow flag after registering their marriage in Taipei.  Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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Couples celebrate after registering their marriages in Taipei.  Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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Newlyweds pose for a group photo after walking down the aisle in Taipei.  Tyrone Siu / Reuters