Fri, Feb 26, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Chiayi approves same-sex couples’ addendum

By Ting Wei-chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chiayi on Tuesday became the first city outside of the six special municipalities to adopt the same-sex couples’ addendum, but the measure was criticized by same-sex couples as being too little, too late.

The addendum allows same-sex couples to exercise the same rights as family members in medical emergencies, such as signing surgery release forms and being allowed to visit hospitalized partners.

Chiayi Mayor Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) told a news conference that the household registration offices in the East District (東區) and West District (西區) will begin processing registration applications by same-sex couples next month.

However, a man using the pseudonym “66” complained at the news conference that the move came too late and offered too little.

Citing the Tainan City Government’s adoption of the addendum, “66” said applicants in Tainan were able to have the addendum stamped on their household registration documents, but Chiayi does not allow such open registration. It also requires both partners to be registered residents of Chiayi, he said.

While the city government has made an effort to promote same-sex rights, the limitations have dampened the spirits of many of his friends, he said.

Chiayi officials said that the addendum could not be openly marked on household registration documents because it lacks legal backing, as same-sex marriage has yet to be legalized in the nation.

Twu also said that the city’s announcement was a tentative first step before the Civic Code could be amended to legalize same-sex marriage, and the city government is open to suggestions on how to improve the measures.

Representatives of several groups who attended the news conference called on the government to be more active in promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

They suggested incorporating same-sex issues into sex education, hosting activities involving LGBT groups and establishing a friendlier working and medical environments toward LGBT people.

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