TAIPEI (CNA) — Four of the most contentious articles in a Cabinet (Executive Yuan) draft bill, aimed at allowing same-sex couples in Taiwan to marry, passed a second reading in a plenary session of the Legislature on May 17, moving Taiwan one step closer to becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.

As of 1:00 p.m. Friday, legislators had voted on the four controversial articles, clearing them for the next reading, but they were still working on the other 23 articles in the draft same-sex marriage bill put forth by the Cabinet.

The four articles allow two persons of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register a marriage, with at least two witnesses signing the registration document.

The purpose of the bill is to enact legislation in accordance with Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748 that was issued on May 24, 2017, the articles state.

In its ruling, the court said that under the Constitution, same-sex couples in Taiwan have the right to marry and that if lawmakers did not enact a law within two years to reflect that right, same-sex marriage would automatically be allowed in the country.

If the Cabinet bill passes the third reading in the Legislature, the new law, called the “Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748,” will give Taiwan a place in history as the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.

In Friday’s legislative session, lawmakers did not vote on comparable articles in two other competing bills on same-sex unions, put forward by Kuomintang Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺), respectively, because those articles in the Cabinet version had already been passed.

By Stacy Hsu