Chi Chia-wei

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Chi Chia-wei
祁家威 (cropped).jpg
Chi during Taiwan Pride 2016
Native name
祁家威
Born (1958-08-02) 2 August 1958 (age 61)
Taiwan
NationalityTaiwanese

Chi Chia-wei (Chinese: ; pinyin: Qí Jiāwēi; born 2 August 1958) is a Taiwanese gay civil rights activist.

Activism[edit]

In March 1986, Chi became the first person in Taiwan to come out as gay on national television, organizing a press conference to announce both his sexuality and his launch of a campaign to prevent the spread of AIDS/HIV. After meeting his current partner in 1988, Chi worked as the country's only AIDS/HIV activist, operating a halfway house for HIV and AIDS patients and advocating for safer sex among the country's LGBT community.[1] In 2000, he achieved controversy in the Taiwanese LGBT community when he struck a deal with a local credit company to hire people with AIDS to work as debt collectors, which campaigners condemned as exploitative to endangered people.[2]

Chi also advocated for recognition of same-sex unions. In 1986, Chi applied to the Taipei District Court notary office with a request for a notarized marriage license, which was promptly rejected; his appeal to the Legislative Yuan was also rejected in harsh terms. Soon afterward, on August 15, he was detained by police with being involved with a robbery, which he denied. Sentenced to a five-year sentence, he was imprisoned for 162 days that year, after which he was subsequently pardoned by a judge and freed. His imprisonment was customary of political dissidents of the late White Terror period, which ended the next year.

After the Ministry of Justice ruled that marriage was only allowed for opposite-sex couples in 1994, Chi attempted to obtain a license again in 1998, eventually appealing the case in October 2000 to the Council of Grand Justice to offer a justification for their refusal to grant him a marriage license. A judge on the panel rejected his appeal due to the appeal not specifying the existing laws and regulations inconsistent with the Constitution.

On 21 March 2013, he once more applied for a license; when he was denied, he appealed upward to the Taipei City Government's Department of Civil Affairs, who referred the constitutionality question to the Taipei Higher Administrative Court and then the Supreme Administrative Court in 2015.[3] Both Chi and the Department requested a constitutional interpretation on the issue and asked the court to focus on whether Taiwan's Civil Code should allow same-sex marriage and if not, whether that violates articles under the Constitution of the Republic of China pertaining to equality and the freedom to marry.[4][5][6] On 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled in Interpretation No. 748 that the Civil Code's restriction of marriage is unconstitutional, and ruled that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry on or before 24 May 2019.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan). "An Ounce Of Prevention". Taiwan Today. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  2. ^ Aids patients used as debt collectors, Danny Gittings, The Guardian, Tuesday 25 July 2000 20.38 EDT
  3. ^ "Taipei City to seek constitutional interpretation on gay marriage". Focus Taiwan. 23 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Taiwan constitutional court hears debate on same-sex marriage". Focus Taiwan News Channel. 24 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Taiwan top court hears landmark gay marriage case". BBC News. 24 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Taiwan to make landmark gay marriage ruling". Yahoo7. 24 May 2017. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.