We have another victory for gay marriage in Asia, but it spotlights a loophole in Taiwan’s current gay marriage status.
A Taiwanese-Macanese gay couple just won a legal battle for the recognition of their marriage. Despite same-sex marriage being legal in Taiwan, there is a loophole in the situation. Gay Taiwanese citizens can marry foreigners, but only foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is also recognized. For 29-year-old Ting Tse-yen and 33-year-old Leong Chin-fai, this became an issue.
Leong is from Macau, which has not legalized same-sex marriage. According to France24, a government office rejected the couple’s marriage registration in 2019. They then began a court battle that has now officially ended in victory. Earlier on Thursday, May 6, the Taipei High Administrative Court revoked the government decision to reject the marriage registration.
Taiwan-Macau #samesex couple 信奇 & 阿古 hold a sign reading "victory" after the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favour of their case and ordered the household registration office to permit their marriage registration. #gaymarriage #GayRights. pic.twitter.com/WQMdxETe2f
— Amber Wang (@ambermywang) May 6, 2021
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. The court decision only affects Ting and Leong. The precedent will not apply to other international same-sex couples. As such, the couple and their representation, Victoria Hsu, are urging Taiwan’s government to pass a nationally sweeping change in law. Meanwhile, the couple has founded a group to support international same-sex couples having similar issues.
“Today’s ruling is not the end, it’s a process and a small milestone,” Leong told AFP.
“We hope in the future all international same-sex couples can register their marriages directly rather than having to go to courts.”
A Taiwanese court recognized the marriage of a couple from Taiwan and Macau in a decision that provides equal rights for same-sex couples from different countries.
Taiwan’s government should pass the legal amendments that would pave the way for future cross-border marriages. pic.twitter.com/Gy1SVnOHAo
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) May 6, 2021
In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. The legalization came after a long battle between conservative/religious parties and LGBTQ advocates. A public referendum on the issue was even deemed necessary. In the end, a court decision protected the path for same-sex couples after the public vote came out against marriage equality.
That said, this case clearly proves that the legalization still has some kinks to work out. In addition, no other country within the Asian continent has yet to follow suit.
Source: France24, AFP,