Tue, Apr 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Foreign same-sex spouses still denied residency: NPP

‘EMPTY WORDS’:Caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming said the Cabinet’s promises were empty, as it has failed to pass legislation required to implement legalization

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The government should pass regulations to allow foreign same-sex partners of Taiwanese nationals who they have married abroad to apply for marriage-based residency as soon as possible, New Power Party caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said yesterday.

The Council of Grand Justices in May last year ruled that a provision in the Civil Code that says a marriage can only be between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and demanded that the legislature legalize same-sex marriage within two years, while Premier William Lai (賴清德) last month promised to enact regulations to allow foreign nationals married to Taiwanese of the same sex to apply for marriage-based residency.

To apply for marriage-based residency, foreign same-sex spouses would only need to notarize their marriage certificate at an embassy or representative office abroad and register their “partnership” at a household registration office in Taiwan, Lai said.

However, Hsu said that despite the ruling and Lai’s promise, authorities have rejected applications for marriage-based residency by several foreign same-sex spouses.

Lan Hsin-wei (藍信偉), a Taiwanese married to a Spanish man, said that his spouse’s work-based residency would expire next month, but the Taiwanese government has refused to grant him marriage-based residency, citing current regulations.

Without residency, it is difficult to find a job, and his spouse cannot even open a bank account or get a Costco membership, Lan said.

Lu Hsin-shan (呂幸珊), who married her South African wife in 2015, said the government has repeatedly refused to recognize their marriage.

In 2016, Lu attempted to move back to Taiwan with her wife, but her application to register the marriage in Taiwan was rejected, she said.

After the grand justices’ ruling last year, she applied again, only to be rejected a second time, she said.

“I want my wife to have a complete life in Taiwan, rather than living like a second-class citizen,” she said.

“If the government will not even grant foreign same-sex spouses residency, would they allow them to register as a married couple?” Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔) said.

She criticized the government’s legislative inefficiency and said it has been hiding information about the progress “as if it were a national security issue.”

“The government should be more responsible. Many people have moved back to Taiwan because it promised to legalize same-sex marriage, but now they might have to move back again. Does the government enjoy fooling people?” Hsu asked.

Lai’s promise is nothing but empty words, he said, adding that the government would lose people’s trust if it continues to delay the legislation.

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