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Same-sex couple denied the right to marry in Taiwan finally get the wedding of their dreams

Michele Theil August 13, 2021
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Tin Tse Yen (left) and Leong Chin-fai showing off their rings

(Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

A Taiwanese-Macanese gay couple married in Taipei this week after winning a landmark legal case.

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage in 2019, but citizens are only allowed to marry foreigners of the same sex if they are from a country that also upholds marriage equality.

For Taiwanese-born Ting Tse-yen and his partner Leong Chin-fat, from Macau, the law meant that they were unable to wed.

The couple challenged the rule in court and won, officially registering their marriage on Friday (13 August).

Unfortunately, the ruling does not constitute a change in the law of Taiwan and only applies to Ting and Leong. Other couples in their situation will need to challenge the law again should they wish to marry.

Ting said, according to France24: “This is an initial success. Other international couples still can’t marry and we call for full recognition.”

Leong continued: “We hope our registration today will let the government see that marriage equality has yet to be realised.”The couple tried to register their marriage in 2019, but it was rejected. However, a court ordered the government office to register their marriage in spite of the law.

The couple’s lawyer, Victoria Hsu, said: “Marriage is a basic human right and it’s unimaginable that there is discriminatory treatment because one’s partner comes from a certain country.”

Hsu asked: “Can any heterosexual citizens accept it if they are allowed to wed an American but not a Japanese?”

Hsu is part of an advocacy group that has appealed to the government watchdog Control Yuan to look into the issue.

Taiwan is a country with extremely progressive laws and rights for the LGBT+ community.

Some 200,000 people attended a Pride march in Taipei in 2019 to celebrate marriage equality, and nearly 6,000 same-sex couples have married in Taiwan ever since it was introduced.

The decision came after Taiwan’s courts ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was discriminatory and unconstitutional, despite strong opposition from conservative lawmakers.

Related topics: Taiwan

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