A Taiwanese-Macanese gay couple tied the knot in Taipei yesterday after winning a landmark legal case as they called for Taiwan to amend its laws to allow same-sex marriages with all foreigners.
Taiwan is seen as leading the LGBTQ rights movement in Asia, as it became the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriages in 2019. However, restrictions do not allow Taiwanese to marry foreigners from countries where same-sex unions are not legally recognized.
Ting Tse-yan (丁則言) and his partner, Guzifer Leong (梁展輝), from Macau, challenged that restriction in court earlier this year and won, allowing them to officially register their marriage.
However, the ruling applies only to their marriage, and other same-sex couples wanting to marry continue to face restrictions and legal challenges.
“This is an initial success,” the 29-year-old Ting said. “Other international couples still can’t marry and we call for full recognition.”
“We hope our registration today will let the government see that marriage equality has yet to be realized,” said Leong, 33.
The couple were able to wed because a court in May ordered a government office to record their marriage, overturning the office’s 2019 rejection of their registration.
“We’ve waited for two years and finally we can get married,” Ting said after the registration, showing his new ID card with his spouse’s name on it.
The couple have cofounded a group to help more than 100 Taiwanese whose partners are from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal, including China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Marriage is a basic human right and it’s unimaginable that there is discriminatory treatment because one’s partner comes from a certain country,” the couple’s lawyer, Victoria Hsu (許秀雯), said. “Would any heterosexual citizens accept a situation in which they were allowed to wed an American but not a Japanese?”
Hsu’s advocacy group, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, has appealed to the Control Yuan to look into the issue, she said.
Taiwan is home to a thriving LGBTQ community, and a record 200,000 people attended a Pride march in Taipei in 2019 to celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Nearly 6,000 same-sex couples have wed since then.
That law came about after Taiwan’s top court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
The issue proved to be divisive, and the law contains restrictions pushed for by conservatives, including limited adoption rights.
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