Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Swede among first foreigners to marry same-sex partners

By Tsai Chang-sheng and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Swedish national Stefan, left, and his Taiwanese husband, Chin Jui, hold a sign after registering their marriage in Hsinchu County on Wednesday last week.

Photo: Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times

A Swedish man has become one of the first foreigners from the LGBTQ community to apply for marriage registration in Taiwan after a same-sex marriage law was introduced on May 24.

Stefan and his husband, Chin Jui (勤芮), had dated for four years before registering their marriage on Wednesday last week at the household registration office in Hsinchu City’s North District (北區).

“They held hands and spoke affectionately to each other throughout the whole process. It was clear they were very much in love,” the office said.

The couple met four years ago in Japan, where Stefan had been studying for his master’s degree while Chin was visiting as a tourist, they said.

After Chin returned to Taiwan, they stayed in touch over the Internet for two years before deciding that they wanted a permanent union, they said, adding that they got matching tattoos on their forearms symbolizing their promise to each other.

Stefan said that he has been impressed with the quality of life in Taiwan, particularly in Hsinchu, Chin’s hometown, where the two plan to live together.

However, for now they live apart due to Stefan’s work, but cherish the two to three times each year they can be together, he added.

Stefan said that he timed his latest trip to Taiwan to follow the passage of the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法), as they had planned to marry.

For marriages between Taiwanese and foreigners, the act applies to individuals from any of the 26 countries that also recognize same-sex marriage, including Sweden, the office said.

Same-sex couples who have married abroad can have their documents verified by Taiwan’s representative office in the country of marriage to directly apply for a family register in Taiwan, it added.

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