A Taiwanese-Macanese gay couple married Friday in Taipei after winning a landmark court case as they demanded the island change its laws to allow same-sex unions with all foreigners.
Taiwan is at the forefront of Asia’s burgeoning LGBTQ rights movement and became the first place in the region to legalize marriage equality in 2019 – but there are still restrictions that same-sex couples are under. faced.
Taiwanese can marry foreigners of the same sex, for example, but only those from countries where marriage equality is also respected.
Ting Tse-yen and his partner Leong Chin-fai from Macau challenged the restriction in court earlier this year and won, allowing them to officially register their marriage on Friday.
But the decision only applies to them, and other same-sex couples wishing to marry will have to engage in the same legal fight.
“This is a first success. Other international couples still cannot get married and we call for full recognition,” said Ting, 29.
“We hope that our registration today will allow the government to see that marriage equality has not yet been achieved,” said Leong, 33.
The couple were able to marry because a court in May ordered a government office to register a same-sex marriage with a foreigner from a location where such unions go unrecognized – overturning its 2019 rejection of their registration of marriage.
“We’ve waited two years and we can finally get married,” Ting said after checking in, showing his brand new ID card with his wife’s name on it.
The couple co-founded a group to help more than 100 Taiwanese whose partners are from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal, including China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Marriage is a basic human right and it is unimaginable that there is discriminatory treatment because her partner is from a certain country,” said the couple’s lawyer, Victoria Hsu.
“Can straight citizens agree if they are allowed to marry an American but not a Japanese?” “
Hsu’s advocacy group, the Taiwan Alliance for the Promotion of Civil Partnership Rights, called on the government’s main watchdog, Control Yuan, to look into the matter, she said.
Taiwan is home to a thriving LGBTQ community, and a record 200,000 people attended a pride march in Taipei in 2019 to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Almost 6,000 same-sex couples have since married.
The law was passed after Taiwan’s highest court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
But same-sex marriage has proven to be deeply divisive, and the law contains restrictions imposed by conservatives, including limited adoption rights.
© 2021 AFP