Taipei (CNA) — Dozens of gay couples visited the Household Registration Office at Taipei’s Xinyi District on May 24, joining hundreds of same-sex couples nationwide who are expected to register to get married on the historic day when same-sex marriage becomes legal in Taiwan.
Clad in a bright red coat embellished with rainbow-colored stuffed animals, pioneering gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威) served as a witness for several of the 20 couples who participated in a collective marriage registration event organized by the pro-gay group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan.
A male couple who have been together for 12 years were briefly overwhelmed with emotion when they were asked to share how they felt on their wedding day.
“Being gay in Taiwan has not been easy. I feel lucky to have had the support of my friends, family and better half,” one of the partners, nicknamed Hsiao Hsuan (小玄), told reporters after completing their marriage registration.
Hsiao Hsuan said he still remembered the time he first took part in Taiwan’s gay pride parade.
“I waved a rainbow flag so hard throughout the parade, but I was too afraid to take it out on my way home,” he said. “But today, I am able to say in front of all these people that I am gay and I am getting married. I am proud of my country.”
A lesbian couple, Yu Ya-ting (游雅婷) and Huang Mei-yu (黃美瑜), said they were happy to eventually complete the long-overdue legal process. The couple held a Buddhist wedding ceremony seven years ago officiated by Buddhist Master Shih Chao-hwei (釋昭慧).
“Our first marriage took place in 2012 and today is our second one. We now have the blessing not only of the gods, but also our parents and society,” Huang said to Yu after the two registered.
“Thank you for marrying me.” Xinyi District’s Household Registration Office Director Su Shih-min (蘇詩敏) said she is glad that her office has the honor of processing same-sex marriage registration.
“We are happy that the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan chose here. The city government has been working hard to turn Taipei into a gender-friendly city and we are glad to have been able to witness their moment of happiness,” Shih said.
Under the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, which was passed on May 17 and signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday, two people of the same gender aged 18 or older are allowed to register for marriage, with at least two witnesses signing the registration document.
They will be able to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples in the area of inheritance and medical power of attorney. A party will be allowed to adopt the biological children of the other, but not the non-biological ones he or she had previously adopted.
By Stacy Hsu