Same-sex marriage in Taiwan
|Legal status of same-sex unions|
* Not yet in effect
Same-sex marriage in Taiwan has been discussed since the 2000s. Currently, Taiwan does not have any recognition of same-sex unions.
In August 2012, two women participated in what the media called Taiwan's first same-sex marriage ceremony.
The Ministry of Justice's Department of Legal Affairs commissioned a study on legal recognitions of same-sex unions in Canada, Germany and France in 2012, but after pressure from critics, commissioned a further study for 2013 on the state of same-sex relationships in Asian countries for comparison.
In 2003, the executive branch of the Taiwan government (Executive Yuan) proposed legislation granting marriages to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law; but the bill was rejected and was not passed into law because of the opposition of legislators in 2006.
President Ma Ying-jeou, Chairman of the governing Kuomintang (KMT), respected LGBT rights but said public support was needed before the government could approve the law, thus it has been stalled since.
As of July 23, the city of Taipei referred the question of constitutionality to the constitutional court for resolution.
Su Tseng-chang, Chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has expressed support for same-sex marriage. DPP is spilt over this issue, some legislators support same-sex marriage, while others oppose it.
Proposed amendments to civil code
On 25 October 2013, a petition-initiated bill to revise the Civil Code to allow for same-sex couples to be eligible for marriage was introduced by 23 lawmakers from the DPP in the Legislative Yuan. It was immediately referred to the Yuan's Judicial Committee for review and possible first reading.
On 22 December 2014, a proposed amendment to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage was due to go under review by the Judiciary Committee. If the amendment passes the committee stage it will then be voted on at the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan in 2015. The amendment, called the marriage equality amendment, would insert neutral terms into the Civil Code replacing ones that imply heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. It would also allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Yu Mei-nu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is the convener of the current legislative session, has expressed support for the amendment as have more than 20 other DPP lawmakers as well as two from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and one each from the Kuomintang and the People First Party. Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage if the Civil Code is amended.
On 28 June 2015, a senior Ministry of Justice official stated same-sex marriage would remain illegal in Taiwan "for now". Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang said "...in Taiwan, the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage remains extremely controversial...so we should not consider it for now". He added that while the Ministry of Justice opposes measures that would legalize same-sex marriages outright, it would support a more gradual approach, including offering better protection to same-sex couples under current laws, such as their rights to equal medical treatment and taxatiion. The next legislative election in Taiwan is in 2016.
City registrations of same-sex couples
In May 2015, the city of Kaohsiung announced a plan to allow same-sex couples to mark their partners in civil documents at the city level for reference purposes, although it would not be applicable to the healthcare sector; Taiwan LGBT Rights Advocacy, an NGO, criticized the plan as merely a measure to "make fun of" the community without having any substantive effect.
In March 2012, a gay couple Ching-Hsueh Chen (Nelson) 陳敬學 and Chih-Wei Kao (Johnson)高治瑋 applied to Taipei High Administrative Court to have their marriage recognized. The first hearing took place on April 10, 2012. The couple was accompanied by their mothers and received the personal blessings from the judges for their love, although the judges said that wouldn't have any repercussions in their final ruling. The next hearing was set to take place a month later, and the court was due to hand down a decision on December 20. Instead, the court reneged on a ruling, opting to send the case to the Council of Grand Justices in the Judicial Yuan for a constitutional interpretation. The case was then voluntarily withdrawn by the couple due to the hesitancy of the judiciary in taking on the case.
A poll of 6,439 Taiwanese adults released in April 2006 by the National Union of Taiwan Women's Association/Constitutional Reform Alliance concluded that 75% believe homosexual relations are acceptable, while 25% thought they were unacceptable.
A poll released in August 2013 shows that 53% of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage, with 37% opposed. Among people aged between 20 and 29, support was at 78%. The main source of opposition was in the Taiwanese Christian community - only 25% of Christians supported same-sex marriage.
Other polls suggest Taiwanese people are far more divided over same-sex marriage legalisation, with a November 2013 poll of 1,377 adults commissioned by cable news channel TVBS indicating the 45% oppose same-sex unions, while only 40% are in favour.
An opinion poll released in December 2014 showed that 54 percent of Taiwanese people would support the legalization of same-sex marriage while 44.6 percent were not in favor.
When a religious and conservative coalition opposed to same-sex marriage launched a petition for public support of their position, a staff editorial from the English-language China Post questioned the logic of the opponents' arguments and endorsed the legalization of same-sex marriage as "a huge step forward in the fight for universal equality akin to ending apartheid. " The Taipei Times, similarly, questioned the logic and arguments of the anti-gay opposition.
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- Taiwan to stage first same-sex buddhist wedding
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- "Same-sex marriage won't be legal in Taiwan 'for now,' says Justice Ministry". The China Post. 28 June 2015.
- Taipei opens registration for gay couples
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- 'Blessed' gay men fight for marriage in court
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- Christie Chen, Huang Yi-han and Alex Jiang (2012-12-20). "Gay man vows not to give up fight for same-sex marriage rights (update)". Focus Taiwan News Channel.
- Taiwan Thinks Adultery Should Remain a Crime, Angus Reid Global Monitor, May 18, 2006
- Over half of Taiwanese support gay marriage: Survey
- Opposing rallies for and against homosexual marriage take to the streets of Taiwan, with parliament split over legislation
- "Gay marriage won't be legal in Taiwan 'for now': official (update - see final paragraph of article)". Focus Taiwan. 27 June 2015.
- The China Post news staff (September 21, 2013). "Same-sex marriage wouldn't bring about end of the world". The China Post.
- Staff Editorial (Sep 21, 2013). "EDITORIAL: Apocalyptic same-sex claptrap". Taipei Times.