Sat, May 16, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung set to allow same-sex couples to register

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Kaohsiung is to become the nation’s first city to recognize same-sex partnership, albeit not in legal terms, as same-sex couples who are Kaohsiung residents can register their partnership at the city’s household registration offices starting on Wednesday.

Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tseng Tzu-wen (曾姿雯) said that in the spirit of respect and good will, the city would unblock the city’s household registration and conscription system to allow same-sex partnerships a place within the system.

The partnership can be deregistered should the relationship break up, she said.

The city’s move is symbolic rather than legal, as civil law stipulates that only a man and a woman can lawfully marry, she said, adding that the administrative recognition is to allow same-sex couples a degree of psychological comfort before any amendment to civil law, she said.

Dubbed the “sunlight registration,” the same-sex partnership registration is a non-binding statement that enjoys no legal status of any sort in terms of civil law, which means that neither party in a registered relationship has any legal right to the other’s inheritance, she said.

No official certificates or documents recognizing the partnerships will be issued, she said.

If registered partners are willing to sign an agreement on collection of personal information, other public agencies, including medical facilities, the justice system and the police could access the city’s household registration system, which allows either partner to act when the legal representatives of the other party are absent, such as signing a consent form for emergency surgery in the absence of the patient’s relatives.

Only registered Kaohsiung residents are eligible for the service, she said, adding that any people, including those who are legally married in foreign countries, in need of the service can take their identification and documents to local household registration offices to register.

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