Even before gay marriage officially arrives, new gov’t help for same-sex partners


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of the Interior is urging local governments to lift location restrictions on those wanting to register their partnership before the law is revised to legalize same-sex marriage.

Since Kaohsiung began to issue same-sex partnership certificates on May 20, 2015, making it the first city in Taiwan to do so, most other cities and counties have followed suit, with the exception of Keelung City, Hualien County, Taitung County, Yunlin County and Penghu County.

To serve same-sex couples living in those places, the ministry announced on Wednesday that it has asked cities and county governments offering sex-same partnership registration to receive applications from other areas.

The expanded service will began on July 3, the ministry said.

Partnership registration allows same-sex couples to apply for family care leave and sign surgical or medical treatment consent forms for each other.

According to governmental data, 2,142 couples had applied for partnership registration in Taiwan as of May, since the service was first launched in Kaohsiung.

On May 24 the Constitutional Court handed down a landmark ruling that the failure of the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. It instructed the Legislature to amend relevant laws within two years to ensure the rights of gay couples.

The historic constitutional interpretation makes Taiwan the first country in Asia to effectively legalize same-sex marriage.