Reactions among gay rights advocates were mixed yesterday after the Taipei High Administrative Court announced that it was postponing a verdict on whether same-sex marriages should be legally recognized, while the court seeks a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices.
The court was widely expected to hand down its decision yesterday on whether same-sex couples have the right to register their marriage, but instead said it was seeking a constitutional interpretation while holding further debates before making a judgement.
“I think this is a good decision, I’m happy to see it,” said Nelson Chen (陳敬學) who, with his companion, Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋), filed the administrative lawsuit against the Zhongshan District Household Registration Office in Taipei, for rejecting their marriage registration last year.
“I am confident and hopeful of the outcome of the constitutional interpretation, because the world is changing,” Chen said. “I hope Taiwan would be the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriages through a judicial ruling.”
He then extended his appreciation to those who have supported them along the way.
Chen and Kao were married in a public wedding ceremony in 2006. They went to the district household registration office to register their marriage last year, but wre turned down.
After a failed appeal, the couple filed a lawsuit against the household registration office with the Taipei High Administrative Court.
Gender/Sexuality Rights Association Taiwan secretary-general Wang Ping (王蘋) was also positive about the court’s move.
“If this lawsuit was filed 10 years ago, the judge would simply have ruled against gay marriages,” Wang said. “But the fact that the judge wants to seek a constitutional interpretation shows that the judge has a more open mind.”
She added that Article 982 of the Civil Code only stipulates that a marrying couple should register their marriage in writing, with signatures by two witnesses.
“It doesn’t specifically say that a marrying couple should consist of one man and one woman, and therefore does not prohibit two men or two women from registering their marriage,” she said.
Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy secretary-general Wu Shao-wen (吳紹文) was more critical of the court’s decision.
“Despite promises to enhance human rights protection, government officials have not done anything concrete on the issue of gay marriages, using ‘waiting for a social consensus’ as an excuse,” Wu said in a press statement.
“Surveys on the issue show that more than 50 percent of the public support legalizing same-sex marriage, and the support rate rises to more than 70 percent among respondents under the age of 30. These figures show that legalizing gay marriages is already widely accepted by the public.”
He said that despite strong opposition from the conservative religious sector, many Western countries have granted some form of recognition to gay coupless.
“It’s time for government officials to seriously face the issue,” he said.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up