A Taiwanese-Macanese homosexual couple got married Friday, August 13, in Taipei, after winning a lengthy lawsuit, calling on the island to allow unions with foreigners of the same sex. Taiwan became in May 2019 the first territory in Asia to legalize same-sex marriages. However, the law includes restrictions that heterosexual couples do not know, especially with regard to adoption or union with foreigners.
Thus, Taiwanese can marry foreigners of the same sex as long as they come from a country where same-sex marriage is allowed. Ting Tse-yen and his partner, Leong Chin-fai, from Macau, took legal action against this provision and ended up winning the case. But this court ruling only applies to them alone, and other foreign same-sex couples will also have to take legal action. “It’s a first victory. Other foreign couples still cannot get married, and we ask for full recognition ”said Mr. Ting, 29.
Six thousand homosexual couples married since 2019
“We hope that this will make the government aware of the need for equality”, said Mr. Leong, 33. The court ordering the government to register the same-sex marriage was handed down in May. In 2019, the two had requested that their marriage be registered, but their request was rejected. “We waited two years and we can finally get married”, welcomed Mr. Ting, showing his new identity card, on which appears the name of her husband.
The couple co-founded a collective aimed at helping more than a hundred Taiwanese whose partners are from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal, including China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. “Marriage is a fundamental human right, and it is unimaginable that, because the partner comes from a certain country, he is the victim of discrimination”, said the couple’s lawyer, Victoria Hsu.
The pressure group of Mme Hsu, the Taiwan Alliance for the Promotion of Civil Partnership Rights, appealed to the government’s main oversight body to look into the matter. The island is at the forefront of gay rights. In 2019, 200,000 people participated in the Taipei Pride March to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage. Since the entry into force of the law authorizing the marriage of same-sex couples, nearly 6,000 couples have registered their union.