Laws regarding homosexuality in Asia Same-sex sexual activity legal .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Marriage performed   Foreign same-sex marriages recognized   Other type of partnership   Legal guardianships or unregistered cohabitation (stripes: non-binding certificates)   No recognition of same-sex couples   Restrictions on freedom of expression Same-sex sexual activity illegal   Prison on books, but not enforced   Prison   Death penalty on books, but not enforced   Enforced Death penalty  .mw-parser-output .navbar{display:inline;font-size:88%;font-weight:normal}.mw-parser-output .navbar-collapse{float:left;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .navbar-boxtext{word-spacing:0}.mw-parser-output .navbar ul{display:inline-block;white-space:nowrap;line-height:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-brackets::before{margin-right:-0.125em;content:"[ "}.mw-parser-output .navbar-brackets::after{margin-left:-0.125em;content:" ]"}.mw-parser-output .navbar li{word-spacing:-0.125em}.mw-parser-output .navbar a>span,.mw-parser-output .navbar a>abbr{text-decoration:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-mini abbr{font-variant:small-caps;border-bottom:none;text-decoration:none;cursor:inherit}.mw-parser-output .navbar-ct-full{font-size:114%;margin:0 7em}.mw-parser-output .navbar-ct-mini{font-size:114%;margin:0 4em}.mw-parser-output .infobox .navbar{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .navbox .navbar{display:block;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .navbox-title .navbar{float:left;text-align:left;margin-right:0.5em}vte
Laws regarding homosexuality in Asia
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Marriage performed
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Legal guardianships or unregistered cohabitation
(stripes: non-binding certificates)
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Prison on books, but not enforced
  Death penalty on books, but not enforced
  Enforced Death penalty

Debate has occurred throughout Asia over proposals to legalize same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.

Following a Constitutional Court ruling and a subsequent legislative act, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide on 24 May 2019.[1] In addition, Israel recognises same-sex marriages validly performed abroad, and same-sex marriages are legal in the UK sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Israel recognises unregistered cohabitation for same-sex couples.[2] Several cities in Cambodia provide same-sex couples with some limited rights and benefits, including hospital visitation rights.[3][4] Some cities in Japan issue certificates for same-sex couples, however they are entirely symbolic.[5][6][7] In Hong Kong, the same-sex partners of residents can receive spousal visas and spousal benefits.[8][9]

Current situation

National level

Status Country Legal since Country population
(Last Census count)
(1 country)
Taiwan Taiwan 2019 23,576,705
Subtotal 23,576,705
(0.5% of the Asian population)
Recognition of foreign marriage and unregistered cohabitation
(1 country)
Israel Israel 2006 8,910,800
Subtotal 8,910,800
(0.2% of the Asian population)
Other types of partnerships
(1 country)
Cyprus Cyprus 2015 1,117,000
Subtotal 1,117,000
(0.05% of the Asian population)
Total 33,604,505
(0.75% of the Asian population)
No recognition
(42 countries)
* same-sex sexual activity illegal
Afghanistan Afghanistan* 31,575,018
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 9,898,085
Bahrain Bahrain 1,496,300
Bangladesh Bangladesh* 165,159,000
Bhutan Bhutan 727,145
Brunei Brunei* 422,678
China China 1,393,970,000
East Timor East Timor 1,261,407
India India 1,336,740,000
Indonesia Indonesia 265,015,300
Iran Iran* 81,773,300
Iraq Iraq 39,339,753
Japan Japan 126,490,000
Jordan Jordan 10,235,500
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 18,272,400
Kuwait Kuwait* 4,226,920
Laos Laos 6,961,210
Lebanon Lebanon 6,093,509
Malaysia Malaysia* 32,663,200
Maldives Maldives* 378,114
Mongolia Mongolia 3,225,080
Myanmar Myanmar* 53,862,731
Nepal Nepal 29,218,867
North Korea North Korea 25,610,672
Oman Oman* 4,633,752
Pakistan Pakistan* 201,938,000
Philippines Philippines 106,438,000
Qatar Qatar* 2,450,285
Russia Russia 146,877,088
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia* 33,413,660
Singapore Singapore* 5,612,253
South Korea South Korea 51,635,256
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka* 21,444,000
Syria Syria* 18,284,407
Tajikistan Tajikistan 8,931,000
Thailand Thailand 69,183,173
Turkey Turkey 80,810,525
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan* 5,851,466
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates* 9,541,615
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan* 32,653,900
Vietnam Vietnam 94,660,000
Yemen Yemen* 28,915,284
Subtotal 4,567,889,853
(98.7% of the Asian population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(4 countries)
* foreign same-sex marriages recognised
Armenia Armenia* 2015 2,969,800
Cambodia Cambodia 1993 16,069,921
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 2016 6,309,300
Georgia (country) Georgia 2018 3,729,600
Subtotal 29,078,621
(0.6% of the Asian population)
Total 4,596,968,474
(99.3% of the Asian population)

Sub-national level

Status Country Jurisdiction Legal since Jurisdiction population

(Last Census count)


(7 jurisdictions)

United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom Akrotiri and Dhekelia 2014 15,700
British Indian Ocean Territory British Indian Ocean Territory 2014 3,000 (military personnel only)
Total 18,700

Partially-recognized and unrecognized states

Status Country Since State population
(Last estimate count)
No recognition
(3 states)
* same-sex sexual activity illegal
Abkhazia Abkhazia 242,862
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus 313,626
State of Palestine Palestine*[nb 1] 4,780,978
South Ossetia South Ossetia 53,532
Subtotal 5,390,998
(0.1% of the Asian population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(1 country)
Republic of Artsakh Artsakh 2006 150,932
Subtotal 150,932
(0.003% of the Asian population)
Total 5,228,304
(0.1% of the Asian population)

Future legislation


Hong Kong Hong Kong: In January 2019 the Hong Kong High Court agreed to hear a challenge to the city's refusal to recognise same-sex marriage. The legal challenges was mounted by a 21-year-old University of Hong Kong student, known as TF, and a 31-year-old activist, known as STK, who argued that the inability of same-sex couples to get married violated their right to equality under the city’s Bill of Rights and the Basic Law.[10] The judge in the case gave the applications license to be heard by the court, though suspended them to first hear another case.[10]

India India: India does not have a codified civil marriage code. A draft of a Uniform Civil Code that would legalise same-sex marriage was proposed in 2017.[11] There are also several same-sex marriage petitions pending in the courts.[12]

Japan Japan: In December 2018, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) announced it would introduce a bill to amend the Civil Code so as to allow same-sex marriage sometime in 2019.[13] On 3 June 2019, the bill was submitted by the CDP, the Japanese Communist Party and other parties. It seeks to adopt neutral language with the terms "party of marriage" being used instead of "husband" and "wife", while "father and mother" would be replaced by "parents".[14][15][16]

Nepal Nepal: On 17 November 2008, Nepal's Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage and recommended that the Parliament form a committee to examine the matter.[17] In October 2016, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare created a committee for the purpose of preparing a draft bill on the issue.[18]

Non-marital partnership

Hong Kong Hong Kong: In June 2018, a Hong Kong lesbian known as "MK" filed a lawsuit against the Hong Kong Government for denying her the right to enter into a civil partnership with her female partner, arguing that her rights to privacy and equality had been violated, amounting to a breach of the Basic Law, the city’s mini constitution, and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. The High Court heard the case in a brief 30-minute preliminary hearing in August 2018.[19][20][21] The case was heard on 28 May 2019.[22][23][24]

Philippines Philippines: In October 2016, Speaker of the House of Representatives Pantaleon Alvarez announced he would file a bill to legalize civil unions for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. As of 25 October 2016, more than 150 lawmakers have signalled their support for the bill.[25] Alvarez introduced the bill on 10 October 2017.

Thailand Thailand: In 2017, the Government of Thailand responded favourably to a petition signed by 60,000 people calling for civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Pitikan Sithidej, the Director-General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department at the Justice Ministry, confirmed he had received the petition and would do all he could to get it passed as soon as possible.[26] The Justice Ministry began discussions on a draft Same Sex Life Partnership Registration Bill in May 2018. Under the proposal, same-sex couples would be able to register themselves as "life partners" and be granted several of the rights of marriage, including full adoption rights.[27][28] On 25 December 2018, the Cabinet approved the bill, but it was not approved by the full National Assembly before the 2019 elections. On 8 July 2020, the Cabinet approved a new draft of the bill, which will be introduced in the National Assembly.[29]

Public opinion

  Indicates the country/territory has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide
  Indicates that the country has civil unions or registered partnerships
  Indicates that same-sex sexual activity is illegal
Opinion polls for same-sex marriage by country
Country Pollster Year For Against Neutral[a] Margin
of error
Armenia Armenia Pew Research Center 2015 3% 96% 1% ±3% [30][31]
Cambodia Cambodia TNS Cambodia 2015 55% 30% 15% - [32]
China China Ipsos 2021 43% 19% - [citation needed]
Georgia (country) Georgia Pew Research Center 2016 3% 95% 2% ±4% [30][31]
India India Ipsos 2021 44% 18% [citation needed]
Israel Israel Hiddush 2019 55% 45%[33] - - [34]
Japan Japan Asahi Shimbun 2021 65% 22% 13% [35]
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Pew Research Center 2016 7% 89% 4% - [36][31]
Malaysia Malaysia Ipsos 2021 8% 65% - [citation needed]
Philippines Philippines SWS 2018 22% 61% 16% [37]
Russia Russia Ipsos 2021 17% 52% - [citation needed]
Singapore Singapore IPS 2019 27% 60% 13% - [38]
South Korea South Korea Ipsos 2021 36% 26% - [citation needed]
Taiwan Taiwan Department of Gender Equality (DGE) 2021 60.4% - [39]
Turkey Turkey Ipsos 2021 24% 25% [citation needed]
Thailand Thailand YouGov 2019 63% 11% 27% - [40]
Vietnam Vietnam iSEE 2014 34% 53% 13% - [41]
Opinion polls for same-sex marriage by dependent territory and sub-national entities
Country Pollster Year For Against Neutral[a] Margin
of error
Hong Kong Hong Kong CUHK 2019 47% 39.5% 13.5% ±3.62% [42]

In 2019, a survey by The Economist found that 45% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region believed same-sex marriage is inevitable in the region, with 31% of respondents disagreeing. Also, three-quarters of those surveyed reported a more open climate for LGBT rights compared to three years ago. Of those reporting an improving climate for LGBT people, 38% cited a change in policies or laws, while 36% said coverage of LGBT issues in mainstream media was a major factor. The top reason cited for diminishing openness was anti-LGBT advocacy by religious institutions.[43][44]


  1. ^ Same-sex sexual activity legal in the West Bank, illegal in the Gaza Strip.
  1. ^ a b Also comprises: Don't know; No answer; Other; Refused.

See also


  1. ^ "Taiwan's high court paves the way for same-sex marriage, a first in Asia". Los Angeles Times. 24 May 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Cohen v. Shushan, 212 So.3d 1113 (2017) ("Our decision upholds a fine — but very clear — distinction that has been set within Israel's marital law, one we must maintain out of respect to Israel's law-making authority. Because Ms. Shushan and the late Mr. Cohen's legal union was not entered into through any recognized religious authority, they were not married under Israeli law. Ms. Shushan, therefore, could not be a surviving spouse of Mr. Cohen").
  3. ^ Same-sex couples tie the knot in Cambodia in a stunning public ceremony, Gay Star News, 24 May 2018
  4. ^ Rainbow Community Kampuchea: What we do?
  5. ^ Williams, Joe (December 26, 2015). "Another Japanese city to recognise same-sex relationships". Pink News. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  6. ^ Masanori, Hiuchi (1 March 2016). "City in Mie Prefecture to recognize same-sex partnerships in April". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  7. ^ "3rd municipality in Japan starts issuing same-sex partnership papers". Japan Today. 3 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Hong Kong's top court sides with gay civil servant in application for spousal benefit and tax assessment". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  9. ^ "Breakthrough for LGBT rights as Hong Kong to recognise same-sex partnerships in spousal visa applications". South China Morning Post. 18 September 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Two gay men mount first legal challenges to Hong Kong laws banning same-sex marriage, with court giving their applications green light to proceed". South China Morning Post. 3 January 2019.
  11. ^ "A new UCC for a new India? Progressive draft UCC allows for same-sex marriages – Catchnews". Catchnews. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  12. ^ Das, Shaswati (7 September 2018). "Historic verdict holds hope for same-sex marriages, adoption".
  13. ^ CDP to seek Civil Code revisions to recognize same-sex marriage, The Mainichi, 31 December 2018
  14. ^ Nobuhiro, Emi (3 June 2019). "Japan Opposition Parties Submit Same-Sex Marriage Bill". Bloomberg.
  15. ^ Milton, Josh (3 June 2019). "Japan opposition parties rally in bid to pass marriage equality". Gay Star News.
  16. ^ "Japan opposition parties submit same-sex marriage Bill". The Straits Times. 3 June 2019.
  17. ^ Nepal's Supreme Court OKs same-sex marriage[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ All set to get legal status
  19. ^ "Woman takes unprecedented step to advance LGBT cause in Hong Kong and sues government over civil partnerships ban". South China Morning Post. 24 August 2018.
  20. ^ Sobel, Ariel (24 August 2018). "Queer Hong Kong Woman Sues for Civil Union Rights". The Advocate.
  21. ^ Power, Shannon (24 August 2018). "Woman sues Hong Kong government for not allowing same-sex civil partnerships". Gay Star News.
  22. ^ Lau, Chris (23 April 2019). "Judge in LGBT civil union legal challenge rejects bid by Hong Kong diocese and conservative groups to join litigation". South China Morning Post.
  23. ^ Milton, Josh (26 April 2019). "Hong Kong judge rules religion should not define what marriage is". Gay Star News.
  24. ^ Glauert, Rik (28 May 2019). "Hong Kong High Court hears landmark same-sex civil partnership case". Gay Star News.
  25. ^ "It’s civil union, not marriage"
  26. ^ Thailand to revive gay rights Bill
  27. ^ Thailand expected to introduce same-sex civil partnerships,, 27 April 2018
  28. ^ Thailand Could Actually Beat Taiwan to Legalizing Same-Sex Unions and Benefits
  29. ^ "Thailand Leads Way in Southeast Asia With Same-Sex Union Bill". 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  30. ^ a b "Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). Pew. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  31. ^ a b c "Religious belief and national belonging in Central and Eastern Europe - Appendix A: Methodology". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  32. ^ TNS Research Report on Opinions Attitudes and Behavior toward the LGBT Population in Cambodia
  33. ^ Of which, 23% were in favor of some kind of civil unions
  34. ^ Einhorn, Alon (7 June 2019). "54% OF RELIGIOUS JEWS SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE, PARTNERSHIP". The Jerusalem Post.
  35. ^ "同性婚、法律で「認めるべき」65% 朝日新聞世論調査". The Asahi Shimbun. March 2021.
  36. ^ "Being Christian in Western Europe" (PDF). Pew Research Center. p. 152. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  37. ^ "First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: 61% of Pinoys oppose, and 22% support, a law that will allow the civil union of two men or two women". 29 June 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  38. ^ Results were SSM is: always wrong (48.5%), almost always wrong (11.5%), only wrong sometimes (13.1%), not wrong most of the time (10.5%), not wrong at all (16.4%).
    "Religion, Morality and Conservatism in Singapore" (PDF). Institute of Policy Studies. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Kamolvattanavith, Teirra (February 18, 2019). "3 in 5 Thais support same-sex civil partnerships: survey". Coconuts Bangkok. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  41. ^ "One in three Vietnamese support marriage equality". GayStarNews. March 31, 2014. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014.
  42. ^ "Survey Findings on Public Opinion on Legalisation and the Spousal Rights of Same-sex Marriage in Hong Kong". Chinese University of Hong Kong. 6 July 2019.
  43. ^ Glauert, Rik (2019-05-30). "Survey finds 45% believe same-sex marriage inevtiable in Asia-Pacific". Gay Star News. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  44. ^ "Legalisation of same-sex marriage will inevitably spread across Asia-Pacific, say nearly half of respondents in new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey". Retrieved 2021-09-23.