Gay Taiwanese couple make bid to be registered as same-sex household in landmark hearing

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A Taiwanese gay couple who have been together for six years are to apply to the Taipei High Administrative Court in a bid to be registered as such under the country’s Department of Household Legislation.

Chen Jing-hsueh and Gao Jhih-wei had their marriage formally recorded in a family pedigree last year – the first among Chinese ever. According to the Taiwanese civil law, marriage between two individuals before May 2007 would immediately take effect as long as there was a public ceremony with two witnesses. Chen and Gao publicly tied the knot in September 2006.

However, the Department of Household Registration has since turned them down twice, meaning that they were not entitled to the benefits open to every married heterosexual couple in their country.

Jing-hsueh decided to take their case to court, and in August 2011, the Department of Household Registration accepted their application for a joint household registration – then formally denied it a month later.

The Department said that marriage was defined as “a monogamous conjugal union between a husband and a wife”, adding it needed further research and discussion to decide whether two men or women could constitute a family.

The hearing begins tomorrow.