Taiwan Now Recognizes Same-Sex Transnational Marriages!

View on Taipei, Taiwan.

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.

Historic Victory In 2019

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.

First Victory In 2020

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.

Efforts Of Same-Sex Transnational Couples Rewarded

Former Taiwan Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang.

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.

A Step Forward, But An Exception Remains

This is a positive and welcome development for many LGBTQ+ couples who have long been denied the right to marry or even have their unions recognized. And it stands as a testament to Taiwan's commitment to equality and inclusion.

But there is still one exception to this newly enacted rule. Marriages between Chinese and Taiwanese partners won't be recognized in Taiwan. Due to procedural issues, their union must be first registered in China before it can be accepted by Taiwan. However, China does not allow same-sex marriages, and given the current situation, this looks unlikely to change anytime soon.

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. 

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Sunday, 16 June 2024