Taiwan denies gay foreign diplomats immunity for their spouses

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday that same-sex spouses of diplomats posted to the country are not entitled to full diplomatic immunity and other privileges in Taiwan currently enjoyed by their straight counterparts.

The statement was made after an anonymous diplomatic official complained to local media that his same-sex partner was not being offered a diplomatic visa.

James Chang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told local media that the decision was made “in accordance with the existing law, but the ministry will examine how other countries handle such situations”.

Homosexuality is legal in Taiwan and in 2003, politicians attempted to introduce same sex marriage, although the legislation stalled in parliament. A 2006 survey found that 75 per cent of Taiwanese adults considered gay relationships to be acceptable.

Very few countries have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan as China refuses to have relations with states that recognise the country. The Vatican City is the only European state with full diplomatic relations. Other countries include Belize and Panama.