Taiwan: Couples protest same-sex marriage ban by attempting to register partnerships

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Same-sex couples in Taiwan have protested in favour of marriage equality by attempting to register their partnerships en masse.

28 gay and lesbian couples showed up at the household registration office in Taipei yesterday and attempted to enter in to marriages, as part of a demonstration organised by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.

The country’s Civil Code states that a marriage must be a union between a man and a woman.

According to the Taiwan Times, the clerks took the applications with a “friendly attitude”, but they were all rejected as the computer system’s infrastructure only allows for one male and one female partner.

Chen Hsin-chieh, who attended with her long-term partner Chen Ling, said: “It’s ridiculous that I can just go out and randomly find a man on the street and marry him, but I can’t marry Chen Ling after we’ve been dating for so many years.”

Office director Lin Tsung-ming said: “The computer system was designed according to the Civil Code, which stipulates that a legal marriage can only be a union between a man and a woman.

“Therefore, the system would automatically reject the registration when the clerks keyed in their national ID numbers.”

“I respect the TAPCPR’s freedom of expression, but I would like to ask them not to cause trouble for other people going about their business here.”

TAPCPR said that three couples will file an administrative petition following the protest, with the ultimate goal of overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

A statement from the group said: “Registering one’s marriage is a legal act. Homosexuals are citizens who should be able to exercise this legal right to register their marriages at their local Household Registration Office.

“Furthermore, the longer Taiwan does not recognise Equal Marriage, the more the gay and lesbian population will have to mobilize all their personal resources to fight to exercise their rights, and there is no guarantee they will be able to have their families protected by law.

“We hope those citizens who are inconvenienced today will spare a thought for those who have been inconvenienced by the law of this country for many years.

“The ultimate goal of the legal proceedings is for the Justices of the Constitutional Court to rule whether such discrimination based on sexual orientation is indeed against the Constitution and to provide us with an explanation.”

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