Taiwanese court hears case for marriage equality

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

A court is Taiwan has begun hearing a case that may potentially paved the way for marriage equality in the progressive Asian nation.

The case has been brought by a gay activist and municipal authorities from Taipei, who have requested the court provided clarification within the area of marriage and how it should related to LGBTI people.

In 2013 activist Chi Chia-wei attempted to register his marriage with his same-sex partner. The government authorities refused, both a now asking the court’s to make a judgement.

A panel of 14 justices are hearing arguments and will debate whether a line in Taiwan’s civil code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.

“I am cautiously optimistic as the world trend is to recognise same-sex marriage and the grand justices are unlikely to bar it,” Chi told AFP ahead of the hearings.

Chi’s case is one of two incidents that panel will be discussion, The second case refers to a group of thirty couples who previously attempted to register their weddings.

The parliament has been debating the issue of marriage equality and President Tsai Ing-wen (pictured) has shown her support for change. A bill is currently before the nation’s parliament and a second reading is due soon.

The discussions within the court are being broadcast live and supporters and opponents of marriage equality have gathered outside the court.

“Today the marriage equality movement stands at a cross roads. We hope that the judges make the right interpretation and guarantee our rights,” Victoria Hsu, director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights told the China Post.

Hsu said if the court did not provide the clarity people were looking for the focus of the debate would move back to the legislature.

Chang Shou-yi, secretary-general of the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan, the leading group opposed to change, has complained that not enough speakers opposed to change have been invited to speak before the panel.

The court’s decision is expected in April or early May.

Bank boss offers to walk gay employee down the aisle after her parents disapprove

While marriage equality has not yet been achieved in Taiwan, it hasn’t stopped gay and lesbian couples from having ceremonies to make lifelong commitments.

When Jennifer, who works at banking firm HSBC decided to tie the knot with her longtime partner Sam, the couple knew that Jennifer’s parents would not want to be involved.

“Before we came out we were always afraid, we were hesitant to talk about it because we were worried people might make fun of us,” Jennifer explained.

“What troubled me most was my parents, because they are strongly against it. My parents have stopped communicating with me and will not come to my wedding.”

Jennifer’s boss, John Ji, who is the CEO of HSBC Taiwan, offered to walk her down the aisle. The couples celebrations have been captured in a new video produced by the bank.

The bank has been at the forefront of supporting LGBTI rights in Asia. Last year the bank unveiled two rainbow coloured lions outside its headquarters in Hong Kong.  Despite a barrage of complaints the bank refused to remove the colourful duo, steadfast in the support for equality.




Tags: , , ,