Couples Shane Lin and Marc Yuan, Cynical Chick and Li Ying-Chien, are among the first to marry in Taipei on May 24, 2019. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Hundreds of gay couples in Taiwan are celebrating their new marriages on Friday (May 24) after the country became the first in Asia to legalise same-sex weddings.

Up to 280 couples are expected to get married on the day that a new law legalising same-sex marriage comes into effect, one week after parliament approved same-sex marriage legislation.

Government offices opened at 8.30am Taiwan time on Friday and gay couples were waiting to walk inside and, after a brief registration process, come out legally wed. Up to 150 couples were expected to wed in capital city Taipei alone, according to Jerome Taylor of AFP.

The ceremonies come after a three-decade fight for same-sex marriage by campaigners in Taiwan.

Taiwan legislators voted for a government-backed bill on May 17 that defined a union between a same-sex couple as a marriage.

Conservative opponents had proposed rival bills that would define partnerships as “same-sex unions” or “same-sex familial relationships.”

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party pushed through the law.

Shane Lin (C), partner Marc Yuan (R) are one of the first couples to marry. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty)

Three decades of campaigning

Taiwan gay activist Chi Chia-wei in Tapei. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty)

Chi Chia-wei (above) has been petitioning the Taiwanese government for almost 30 years to legalise same-sex marriage.

He was the first person to come out as openly gay in Taiwan in 1986 and has been behind several campaigns to legalise same-sex marriage.

On Friday, Chia-wei urged others in Asian countries to take their battles for same-sex marriage to court.

Over 70 percent of Taiwan opposed to same-sex marriage

In a referendum last November, 72 percent of Taiwan voted against same-sex marriage, showing the opposition towards LGBT+ rights that still persists in the region.

The referendum, which did not impact the supreme court decision to legalise same-sex marriage, favoured defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

However, the vote on May 17 was a momentous victory for Taiwan’s LGBT+ community.

Around 40,000 people took to the streets of Taipei to show support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage on May 17.

Cynical Chick (L) and Li Ying-Chien display their wedding certificate in Taipei. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty)

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