Taipei court holds hearing in gay marriage appeal

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Page 1

The Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday held a three-judge court hearing in a case involving two gay men seeking to have their marriage be given legal status.

“No matter what the court rules, it is the beginning of society seriously discussing the issue of gay marriage,” Bruce Liao (廖元豪), an associate professor of law at National Chengchi University and an expert witness, told reporters after the hearing.

Chang Hung-cheng (張宏誠), a part-time lecturer at National Taipei University of Technology who served as another expert witness at the hearing, said that Article 982 of the Civil Code does not clearly state that marriage is limited to a union between a man and a woman.

Article 982 states that “a marriage shall be effected in writing, which requires the signatures of at least two witnesses, and by registration at the Household Administration Bureau.”

Chang added that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is also against Article 7 of the Constitution, which states that “all citizens of the [Republic of China] ROC, irrespective of sex, religion, race, class or party affiliation, shall be equal before the law.”

Nelson Chen (陳敬學), who filed the complaint with his partner, Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋), said he thinks the basis for marriage should be love instead of the gender of the individuals involved.

Chen said prohibiting gays from marrying is discrimination and a violation of their human rights.

The court announced that a ruling would be handed down on Dec. 20.

Chen and Kao filed the complaint with the Taipei High Administrative Court earlier this year after their efforts to be legally married were rejected by the authorities.

The couple held a public wedding banquet in 2006, but their application to register their marriage in August last year was rejected by a district household registration office.

They then took their case to the Taipei City Government, which also rejected their appeal late last year, prompting them to take legal action.

An initial court hearing was held in April.