Taiwan has taken an extremely significant step towards equal rights and recognition for same-sex couples.
Taiwan authorities have taken a major step forward towards LGBTQ+ equality by allowing the recognition of same-sex transnational marriages between their LGBTQ+ citizens and foreign partners. The decision represents an important shift, although further improvements are still needed.
2019 was a historic milestone as Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriages. This monumental decision set an incredible precedent for the region and showed again that progress toward equality can indeed be achieved. It was a moment of pride for both Taiwan and the broader Asian LGBTQ+ community, who continue their journey towards equal rights and justice.
After the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, there remained some issues of discrimination for certain same-sex couples, particularly transnational same-sex couples, as the same-sex marriage law was only intended for Taiwanese citizens.
After several judicial decisions recognizing the unconstitutionality of rejecting their marriage registrations, a gay Taiwanese-Japanese couple finally saw their marriage registration accepted in September 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, even though Japan still does not allow marriage equality.
"As a result, from 2019 to 2022, there were five court rulings allowing transnational same-sex couples to register [their] marriages. The judges' decisions imply that taking marriage rights from transnational same-sex couples [is] illegal and against constitutional principles," said former Amnesty International staffer Annie Huang in an analysis published in January.by Author
So, same-sex transnational couples have fought for official recognition of their union. And they finally saw their efforts rewarded when former Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang signed a decision allowing these unions to be recognized before leaving office at the end of January after years of judicial challenges and pro-bono efforts provided by the Taiwanese Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) and the Taiwanese Association for Human Rights.
A change in interpreting Taiwan's marriage law that recognizes same-sex transnational unions, regardless of the legal status of same-sex marriage in the partner's home country, was announced shortly thereafter by the Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior. In its statement, the Interior Ministry stated that same-sex marriages had become part of Taiwan's society, emphasizing the need for uniform adoption all over the territory.
Taiwan's historic decision to recognize same-sex transnational marriages is a cause for celebration within the LGBTQ+ community. This new step towards equality and recognition of same-sex couples allows Taiwanese LGBTQ+ citizens and their foreign partners to have a legally recognized status for their relationship, a major victory.