Same sex marriages have been legitimised in all US States following a Supreme Court ruling.
Currently there is no country in Asia where same sex marriages are allowed, but the US has set a precedent that gives hope to Gay Rights activists and gay couples in Asia.
Here are 5 major Asian countries attitudes and current position on same sex relationships;
Thailand – Any visitor to Thailand will know that this is one of the most tolerant countries in Asia regarding same sex and transgender relationships. It is a top tourist destination for the gay community, especially Pattaya. Thai civil authorities are currently working towards extending civil rights to include same sex couples.
Since the National Council for Peace and Order took power last year in the Kingdom, they have been working on a new draft constitution that contains a clause aimed at protecting the rights of gay and transgender people. When made official it will make it illegal in Thailand to discriminate according to gender.
South Korea – South Korean’s attitudes towards same sex relationships is somewhat more conservative than Thailand’s. This is a country that has experienced military dictatorships, which condemned homosexuality based on traditional Christian values, which were mostly imported from the US!
So, it stands to reason following the Supreme Court ruling that South Korea could follow suit in the next few years. It will take time, however, for older leaders and politicians to accept such changes.
Hong Kong – Even though Hong Kong is one of the major financial centres of the world, it lags somewhat behind regarding equal rights. Women are still often overlooked for major business roles and often viewed ass second class citizens, the gay community being somewhere behind in the queue. The tide is turning though and as an ‘independent’ state of China will probably follow the crowd, eventually.
Japan – In Japan homosexuality is generally frowned upon in polite society, but it is not against the law to be in a same sex relationship. Education still favours traditional values with set male and female roles models.
Japan has a very popular and growing transgender entertainment industry including famous TV personalities. Younger citizens tend to be more open minded about same sex relationships, as is the case in many modern countries now.
China – Chinese people are traditionally conservative and many are in fact atheists too. Their view of the world is often that the US sets the standard for everyone to follow and for China to copy at a fraction of the cost! There have been many radical changes in Chinese culture over the last couple of decades.
The country has become a lot more open to international business and is steadily over taking the US as the number one super power. It stands to reason that sooner or later the promotion and legalisation of same sex marriages will happen.
It is interesting to note that many countries opinions and cultural stance on homosexuality has changed from being an impressionable offence to being publically and socially acceptable in less than a lifetime. It was only in 1967 that homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales between men over 21 years, Scotland followed suit in 1980. The age of consent for a same sex relationship in the UK is now 16.
In the States it was a more complex process as sodomy laws were changed state by state, it wasn’t until June 2003 that the Supreme Court decriminalised the act.
The ultimate aim is for zero discrimination, no matter your sexual preference. What happens behind closed doors with consenting adults really ought to be up to them as long as no one is getting hurt or doing anything illegal. This is a step in the right direction for cultural tolerance too, but those against same sex relationships will see this in a bad light.
It could be that people with negative views about same sex relationships become the minority soon, especially in the western world.