The other day we told you how Taiwan is poised to consider a new civil partnership law for same-sex couples. We also mentioned how some LGBT advocates are disappointed that the proposal would not give them equal marriage rights.
Now, the city of Taipei plans to petition Taiwan’s Constitutional Court for a ruling on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
According to local media source New Talk, the Taipei City Civil Affairs department began registering gay couples on June 17 this year, though registering does not bestow same-sex couples in Taipei with the same rights as opposite-sex couples.
However, registered same-sex couples receive a certificate of civil partnership, which identifies them as relatives.
The certificate is currently recognised by the Ministry of Health and Welfare based on the Medical Care Act, which recognises relationships between same-sex couples in a limited way.
More from Focus Taiwan:
Article 972 of the Civil Code states that “an agreement to marry shall be made by the male and the female parties in their own concord.”
The city government is seeking the opinion of the Justices of the Constitutional Court on whether that article and other marriage-related articles in the Civil Code violate articles in the Constitution that pertain to freedom and equality, Hong Jin-da (洪進達), a section chief at the department, told CNA.
The civil affairs department said the Taipei City government respects the opinions of people on both sides of the same-sex marriage argument, but since the Constitutional Court has never issued an interpretation on the matter, the question has arisen of whether the relevant laws may be unconstitutional.
Interestingly, both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage are backing the city’s petition. Andrew Chang, secretary-general of the anti-gay Family Guardian Coalition of Taiwan Religions, believes the court will rule against same-sex marriage:
“We believe same-sex union does not fall under the traditional definition of marriage, that is, the couple must be able to reproduce, raise and educate the next generation,” said Chang, whose coalition has adamantly opposed same-sex marriage.
Taiwan would be the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Twenty countries worldwide have legalized same-sex marriage, according to Freedom To Marry. They are the US, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland. Same-sex marriage is also legal in some parts of Mexico.