Back to list

Taichung's mass wedding to include gay couples next year: official

2015/10/28 23:06:35

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) The central Taiwan city of Taichung will allow same-sex couples to participate in its biannual mass weddings next year, a city official said Wednesday.

The decision follows a similar one by the local governments of Taoyuan and Taipei, which included gay couples in their mass weddings last week for the first time.

Tsai Shi-yin (蔡世寅), director of the Taichung City Civil Affairs Bureau, said the paperwork could not be completed in time for the inclusion of same-sex couples in the city's mass weddings this year, but the decision will be implemented next year.

He was responding to questions in a city council meeting by Democratic Progressive Party Councilor Lai Chia-wei (賴佳微) on why Taichung had not allowed the participation of same-sex couples in its recent mass wedding, as Taoyuan and Taipei did last week.

Lai said Taichung city councilors made a request as early as May for gay couples to be included, and city government's gender equality committee followed up in July with a similar request.

While Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has been speaking out in support of same-sex marriage, he has been trailing Taoyuan and Taipei in terms of action, Lai said.

Meanwhile, Taichung Deputy Mayor Zhang Guang-yao (張光瑤) said there will be no restrictions on the number of same-sex couples that will be allowed to participate in the city's mass weddings next year.

Although same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Taiwan and the weddings are only symbolic, many see these decisions by the local governments as a sign of rising public support for gay marriage in Taiwan.

In Asia, Taiwan is seen as one of the more liberal countries on gay issues.

On May 20, the southern city of Kaohsiung became the first in the country to allow its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents (LGBT) to list their partners in the city's household registration records. Taipei and Taichung followed suit on June 17 and Oct. 1, respectively.

The designation of partners in the records does not give LGBT couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, but it does allow registered LGBT couples to sign medical agreements for each other, something they had not been able to do in the past.

(By Christie Chen and Chao Li-yen)
ENDITEM/pc