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Taiwan officially recognizes same-sex marriages of transnational couples

via Bhakti Kulmala

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    Taiwanese authorities have officially moved to allow transnational same-sex couples to register their marriages.

    Announcing the historic decision on Thursday, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior stated that the previous practice that excluded such couples was discriminatory and contradicted the very law the same-sex marriage provision was based on.

    Same-sex couples with partners from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage can now get married in Taiwan, with the exception of Taiwanese-Chinese pairs. Cross-strait rules require such couples to register their marriages in China, where gay marriage has not been legalized, before it is recognized in Taiwan, according to the Taipei Times. Those with partners from Hong Kong and Macao, however, are now free to register.

    Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019. 

    According to the island’s Ministry of Interior, same-sex marriage has become part of Taiwan’s society. The office also highlighted the importance of consistency in the implementation of existing provisions.

    However, the original provisions still disallowed marriage registration if one of the same-sex pairs was from a country or jurisdiction where it was illegal. 

    Such limitations prompted a number of transnational couples who seek official recognition of their union to challenge household registration offices in Taiwan with lawsuits over the years. 

    The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), which has called for the legalization of all transnational same-sex marriages, aided the plaintiffs with pro bono support. 

    The decision, signed by Premier Su Tseng-chang before he stepped down from office, is considered a major stride in marriage equality by advocates.

    Advocacy groups, including TAPCPR and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, welcomed the new rule and issued a joint statement expressing gratitude to Taiwanese authorities for their efforts in getting the decision passed.

    The groups, however, lamented that Taiwanese-Chinese couples are still ineligible for marriage registration.


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