Taiwan’s landmark ruling on gay marriage has entered the “trending topic” charts on Chinese social media Weibo, following Wednesday’s announcement.

The island became the first Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage when its top court ruled that current regulations prohibiting marriage between partners of the same sex were unconstitutional. Though it does not mean that same-sex marriage is now legal, the court has ordered the legislature to revise the Civil Code to include provisions for same-sex marriage within two years.

The topic received millions of hits on the Chinese microblogging site, with thousands discussing it.

Photo: Facebook/Marriage Equality Coalition.

The thread contained many positive comments celebrating the ruling, with users congratulating Taiwan and posting comments such as “Love is Love” and “any form of love is worth celebrating.”

“It feels like Tsai Ing-wen finally did something good,” one said.

“If Taiwan is a province in China, doesn’t that mean China is the first country in Asia to support equal rights for homosexuals?” another asked.

Photo: Weibo.

Others expressed hope that mainland China would not be far behind in recognising same-sex marriage.

One Weibo user sakura-X said: “there’s hope on the mainland,” with four clapping emoticons.

Another posted a photo of herself with her girlfriend, saying “Love Wins! The mainland will not be far behind. Love is love!”

Photo: Weibo.

But not all were supportive of the ruling.

“I respect your right to homosexuality, but I would oppose until death any acts of homosexuality by any of my loved ones. I don’t agree with its unbridled promotion, this will create a negative influence on kids,” one user who professes to be a mother in previous posts said, sparking angry rebuttals from some.

Asked whether China will recognise same-sex couples who get married in Taiwan in the future, the Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson told reporters to direct their questions to the relevant departments.

Slow progress

According to a consumer spending report by Zank, a friend-finding app for China’s gay community, there were 70 million LGBT people in China as of mid-2014, about five per cent of the population.

Though China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 and took homosexuality off its official list of psychiatric disorders in 2001, it does not show signs of recognising same sex marriage anytime soon.

Last year, a Chinese court rejected the country’s first same-sex marriage case. Chinese authorities have also been cracking down on depictions of homosexuality in the media as part of a ban on “immoral content.”

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.