Taipei becomes second city in Taiwan to make life easier for gay couples

Taipei officially began to make life easier for same-sex couples today as it began to allow same-sex couples to apply for partnership certificates.

The City Council is the second to allow the partnership certificates after Kaohsiung did the same.

Couples can apply for family care leave and sign medical consent forms on each other’s behalf on the issuance of the certificate.

The certificates build on a registered partnership scheme in the city which was announced in June 2015.

The same-sex partnership certificate was revised as the size of and ID card after the original A4-sized forms were found to be difficult to carry.

272 couples had applied for the registered partnerships scheme by the end of November.

Taipei and Kaohsiung began to share information on the registered partnerships from 1 January this year.

This meant couples registered in one city will not need to register in the other if they relocate.

The process of obtaining official letters or cancelling partnership registrations is also easier as a result of the change.

“To give more same-sex couples spiritual comfort, and to ensure that the promises they made to each other regarding their lives can be carried out,” the Department of Civil Affairs said.

The change intends to “implement gender diversity practices and promote the rights of same-sex couples.”

Kaohsiung began allowing same-sex registered partnerships in May 2015, and was the first in Taiwan.

A third city, Taichung, also enabled same-sex couples to register their partnerships starting in October last year.

Although the registered partnerships do not afford same-sex couples equal rights to straight married couples, it allows them some rights.

The new rules come as Taiwan’s Legislature begins to debate amendments which would allow same-sex couples to marry.

The amendments passed the first stage, a Parliamentary Committee, but must be debated before they will become law.

Same-sex marriage advocates hope that Taiwan will be the first country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage, and that other countries will follow suit.