Taiwan has decided to recognize same-sex marriages between its citizens and their foreign partners even if the partners' countries do not allow same-sex marriage, in a shift from its previous interpretation.

Taiwan became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019, but it had interpreted the law as only allowing Taiwanese to marry same-sex spouses who are citizens of countries or territories where same-sex marriage is legal.

The Interior Ministry notified local governments of the change of interpretation as of Thursday. The new rule does not cover same-sex marriages involving people from mainland China due to procedural issues, it said.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rally near the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on May 17, 2019. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The move comes after a slew of court rulings recognized the unconstitutionality of rejecting the marriage registrations of transnational same-sex couples based on the initial legal interpretation.

Among them was a ruling on a Taiwanese-Japanese couple. Their marriage registration was accepted in Taipei in September last year.

Japan remains the only Group of Seven country that does not recognize same-sex marriage, and a number of lawsuits have been filed in the country by same-sex couples.

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