Wang Chen-wei and Chen Chun-ju are the first LGBTQ plus couple in Taiwan to legally adopt a non-biologically related child together.
LGBTQ plus activists have advocated to amend the 2019 law that legalized same-sex marriage to allow more freedoms for the marginalized community in the country, according to Taiwan News. Until late December, only one of the spouses in a same-sex marriage could adopt the other’s biological child, but the law prevented same-sex couples from adopting a child together who is not related to either of them biologically.
Wang and Chen, who have been together for 16 years, delayed their marriage so Wang could adopt their daughter Joujou. They then went to court to add Chen as a legally recognized parent.
In a historic victory for the family, a Kaohsiung family court determined on Dec. 25 that the 2019 law did not “prohibit the adoption of adopted children,” allowing Chen to adopt Joujou with Wang, according to the Guardian.
“I have everything now,” Wang told reporters after the adoption was finalized. “I am married and just like heterosexual couples, we can have our own children. But we were born to have and enjoy all of this, we are not a charity case. We shouldn’t have had to fight for it.”
Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy director Chu Chiajong reportedly called the decision “brave”, commending the court for prioritizing the child’s well-being and right to not be discriminated against.
“At the end of the day, someone finally acknowledged it’s all about a child’s best interests, not just about the rights of an LGBTI couple,” Chu reportedly said. “Now their daughter’s ID shows both parents’ names on it. It means she finally is legally under the protection of both parents, of both dads.”
Chu also noted that although this historic win offers some hope to LGBTQ plus couples in Taiwan, it will not give them the legal precedent to necessarily achieve the same result.
The Taiwan Equality Campaign, a gay rights group, said two other same-sex couples had their request for adoption rejected by the courts because the 2019 law did not explicitly allow it. According to Taipei Times, the group said the other couples are planning to appeal their rulings.
Even Wang and Chen cannot adopt another child like they have always wanted to, as they are now married. Until the wording of the law officially changes, a second adoption for the couple is not an option. And they would have to go to court again to fight for dual adoption.
“I hope that our first story of victory as a gay couple will serve as a foundation for the full practice of fair, equal treatment for other LGBT families,” said Chen.
“We just need to fix one word in the same-sex marriage law, just the word ‘genetic’,” Chu said. “If we get rid of that word it would allow LGBTQI couples to adopt.”
Legislator Fan Yun proposed a bill in Taiwan’s parliament over a year ago that remains stalled as they await a submission from Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice.