Same-sex marriages involving a Chinese spouse might soon be recognized, as the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said it plans to amend cross-strait regulations to conform with an amendment looking to recognize all international same-sex marriages.
Although marriage equality was legalized in 2019, the law only allows for marriages in which both partners are from countries that recognize their union.
The Judicial Yuan in January proposed amendments that would recognize all international same-sex marriages involving a Taiwanese national, although the changes, if passed by the legislature, would not cover Chinese partners.
Photo:David Chang, EPA-EFE
To bring cross-strait law in line with the proposed changes and ensure Taiwanese’s right to marry, the council said it is drawing up changes to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).
The aim is to satisfy procedural and substantive justice by avoiding legal discrepancies in adjudication, the council said.
In the Judicial Yuan’s proposal, Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements (涉外民事法律適用法) would be changed to prioritize Taiwanese marriage law in the event that national laws differ for each partner.
The council said its amendment would state that provisions of the foreign elements law “shall apply for civil matters involving the mainland area, unless otherwise provided in this act.”
As China does not recognize same-sex unions, couples have no way of obtaining a notarized marriage certificate in China for the Straits Exchange Foundation to verify, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.
Without a certificate, they also have no way of getting an interview with the National Immigration Agency, which is required before a cross-strait marriage can be registered in Taiwan, he said, adding that these and other administrative procedures would also need to be changed.
If the amendment is passed, the official recommended that no longer requiring a Chinese marriage certificate and jumping straight to an interview.
However, he also said that the immigration agency should be extremely strict in its assessments of couples to prevent the use of “fake marriages” as an infiltration tactic by China.
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