Taiwan grants adoption rights for same-sex couples in massive win for equality

LGBT rights activists carry large rainbow banners as they march during the Gay Pride Parade in Taipei on October 29, 2022

Taiwan has passed ground-breaking legislation to grant same-sex couples full adoption rights.

In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, and has now approved an amendment to an existing law after years of fierce campaigning by LGBTQ+ activists. 

The extension to the Same-Sex Marriage Act, approved on Tuesday (16 May), allows same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child to whom neither of them are related, a right previously only open to heterosexual couples and single people, CNN reported.

Previously, if a same-sex couple wanted to adopt a child, only one of them could register as the child’s legal parent. 

“I am very excited that we granted joint adoption rights to same-sex couples today,” Fan Yun, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said. 

“Legally, we have finally returned same-sex couples to their children… parental love is the same, and only through joint adoption can we protect the rights and interests of each other by law.”

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The DPP described the law as a monumental milestone.

The introduction of same-sex adoption in Taiwan follows a ruling in December 2021 that challenged the ban, with a gay man in Kaohsiung City being granted the right to adopt his husband’s child.

A family court ruled that 38-year-old Wang Chen-wei’s child, whom he had previously adopted, could also be adopted by his 34-year-old husband Chen Chun-ju.

At the time, the ruling applied only to their specific case and did not legalise same-sex adoption country-wide, something Chen-wei described as absurd. 

“I am happy that my spouse is also legally recognised as the father of our child… but I can’t feel all that happy without amending the law,” he told to AFP.

Taiwan recently held its first LGBTQ+ Pride celebration in two years – after the country relaxed its strict COVID-19 restrictions – which attracted more than 120,000 revellers to the capital Taipei.

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