Thu, Apr 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taipei opens appointments for gay wedding registration

MAY 24:Household registration offices in Taipei are accepting telephone and on-site appointments for when same-sex marriage registrations become legal

Staff writer, with CNA

Gay and lesbian couples in Taipei on Tuesday last week hold signs urging same-sex couples to register their marriages on May 24, the day the Council of Grand Justices has set for same-sex marriage to be legalized.

Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights

The Taipei City Government on Tuesday announced that household registration offices across the city had begun accepting appointments from residents to register same-sex marriages beginning on May 24, the day the Council of Grand Justices has set for same-sex marriage to be legalized.

As of 4pm yesterday, 39 couples had booked appointments: 16 homosexual and 23 lesbian couples.

In line with the council’s 2017 Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, household registration offices in Taipei are accepting telephone and on-site appointments for same-sex marriage registration, even though the central government has not yet completed the amendments to make same-sex marriage legal, the Taipei Department of Civil Affairs said in a statement.

As of press time last night, no other cities or counties had announced a date on which they would begin accepting appointments to register same-sex marriages.

Registration is to begin at 8:30am and close at 8pm on May 24 at all household registration offices in Taipei, the department said.

On that day, those who register would receive updated household certificates and identification cards indicating that the marriage has been registered, it said.

The grand Justices ruled that the Civil Code’s prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and that the relevant authorities had two years to amend or enact laws in accordance with Constitutional Interpretation No. 748.

However, a referendum on whether to support same-sex marriage legalization through amendments to the Civil Code was defeated in November last year.

When asked: “Do you agree that the right to marriage of persons of the same sex should be protected by legislation under the chapter on marriage of the Civil Code?” 6,949,697 voted against the initiative, while 3,382,286 voted in favor of it.

Nonetheless, the Legislative Yuan on March 5 voted to send the “enforcement act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748” to a second reading.

This was the first draft act created on the basis of the constitutional interpretation and would allow gay couples to register their marriage or divorce at any household registration office.

To appease those who oppose treating same-sex unions as marriages, the Legislative Yuan on March 15 also voted to send another draft bill, which would limit the use of the words “marriage” and “spouse” to heterosexual couples, to a second reading.

Called the “enforcement act of Referendum No. 12,” the bill was introduced by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and is deemed by same-sex marriage supporters to violate the “enforcement act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748.”

It was drafted in response to the passing of Referendum No. 12, which asked: “Do you agree that the right to persons of the same sex to create a permanent union should be guaranteed by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code?”

Bills have to pass second and third readings by the Legislative Yuan before becoming law.

It is unclear what would happen if the legislature passes both drafts.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) on Tuesday said that cross-caucus discussions regarding the two bills would begin early next month in an effort to find a compromise.

Additional reporting by Tsai Ssu-pei

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