Taichung is to allow same-sex couples to participate in its twice yearly mass weddings next year, a city official said.
The decision follows a similar one by the local governments of Taoyuan and Taipei, which last week included gay couples in their mass weddings for the first time.
Taichung Civil Affairs Bureau director Tsai Shi-yin (蔡世寅) said the paperwork could not be completed in time for the inclusion of same-sex couples in the city’s mass wedding this year, but the decision will be implemented next year.
The response came after Democratic Progressive Party Taichung City Councilor Lai Chia-wei (賴佳微) questioned why Taichung had not allowed the participation of same-sex couples in its recent mass wedding.
Lai said Taichung city councilors made a request as early as May for gay couples to be included and the city government’s gender equality committee followed up in July with a similar request.
While Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has spoken out in support of same-sex marriage, he has been trailing Taoyuan and Taipei in terms of action, Lai said.
Taichung Deputy Mayor Chang Kuang-yao (張光瑤) said there would not be restrictions on the number of same-sex couples who can participate in next year’s mass weddings.
Although same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in Taiwan and the weddings are only symbolic, many see these decisions by the local governments as a sign of rising public support for gay marriage in the nation.
Taiwan is seen as one of the more liberal nations regarding gay rights in Asia.
On May 20, Kaohsiung became the first city in the nation to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents to list their partners in the city’s household registration records. Taipei and Taichung followed suit on June 17 and Oct. 1 respectively.
The designation of partners on records does not give LGBT couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, but it does allow registered LGBT couples to sign medical agreements for each other, something they had not been able to do in the past.
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