Government expands same-sex registration rights

Same-sex couples will have the option to be officially listed as legal partners at household registration offices in most administrative districts of Taiwan regardless of their areas of residence beginning July 3, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Under the soon-to-expire regulations, same-sex couples seeking legal partnerships must be residents of the same administrative area. The MOI said June 21 that it is lifting this restriction in order to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.

The new regulations will apply to household registration offices in all areas except those that do not issue same-sex partnership certifications. Currently, there are five cities and counties in Taiwan that do not accept applications for same-sex partnerships, namely Hualien County, Keelung City, Penghu County, Taitung County and Yunlin County.

According to MOI statistics, more than 2,000 same-sex couples had registered partnerships in Taiwan as of May, with female couples outnumbering male couples at 1,703 and 439, respectively. Registration affords partners the right to apply for family care leave as well as the ability to sign patient consent forms in case of medical emergencies.

The Executive Yuan is working to formulate amendments to the Civil and Criminal codes regarding same-sex marriage. In a Cabinet meeting June 21, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Mei-ling said the government's aim is to work toward the creation of regulations under which all forms of marriage are equally protected by the law.

In May, the Constitutional Court ruled that provisions of the Civil Code forbidding same-sex marriages violate the people's freedom of marriage and rights to equality as guaranteed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.

The provisions of Chapter 2 on Marriage of Part 4 on Family of the Civil Code do not allow two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union of intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together, the court found in Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748. The court instructed the Legislature to amend or enact relevant laws in accordance with the ruling within two years.

Source: Taiwan Today