Three same-sex couples are suing for the right to adopt, with the hopes of reaching the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation, a coalition of LGBT rights groups said yesterday.
It has been two years since marriage equality was legalized, but same-sex couples still do not enjoy the same rights as mixed-sex couples when it comes to adoption, the groups told a news conference in Taipei under the slogan “do not make light of children’s rights.”
The law governing same-sex marriage only allows a spouse to adopt the biological child of their partner, preventing the partners from adopting as a couple, Taiwan Equality Campaign chief executive Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said.
This means that even if the couple is married, one spouse is a stranger to their adopted child under the law, she said.
Garden of Hope Foundation chief executive Wang Yueh-hao (王玥好) said that in her experience hosting adoption information sessions, same-sex couples are among the best prepared, materially and psychologically.
This legal restriction also severely infringes on the rights of children, as they might be forcefully taken from their home if their legal parent dies, placing them in an unstable environment, Wang said.
Three couples who have adopted children shared their experiences to illustrate the importance of amending the law.
Among them were Yi Ling (怡伶) and Yi Ju (怡如), who have been together for 11 years and in 2019 began adoption procedures.
A court ruled that Yi Ju was permitted to adopt a son last year.
Yi Ling said that she loves their son “more than words can express,” but according to the law, she is a stranger to him.
Earlier this year, Yi Ju began feeling sick, forcing the couple to have discussions they describe as “terrible” as they waited for Yi Lu’s biopsy results.
“If something happened to Yi Ju, I would have no way of obtaining guardianship over our son,” Yi Ling said. “He would lose both his mothers at once.”
Attorney Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕), who is representing the couples’ legal team, said that the rule contravenes the right to equality under the Constitution and the best interests of the child principle under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
From the perspective of the child, they have two fathers or two mothers, but legally, only one of them has the right to make major decisions on their behalf, she said.
The team hopes that the case could reach the Council of Grand Justices, who can issue an interpretation to fundamentally reverse this situation, Lee added.
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