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Court rules in favor of gay man who lost partner before law revision

2019/08/14 19:47:31

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) A Taipei court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a gay man who lost his same-sex partner before gay marriage was officially legalized in Taiwan in May, entitling him to receive the funeral subsidy to which all married heterosexual couples in the country are entitled.

The Taipei District Court ruled in favor in the case filed by Nelson Hu (胡勝翔), secretary-general of the Taiwan Gender Queer Rights Advocacy Alliance, who was originally denied the subsidy by the Bureau of Labor Insurance in 2018.

According to the ruling, Hu and Pan Shih-hsin (潘世新) registered their same-sex partnership at a New Taipei household registration office June 20, 2017, giving Hu the right to sign medical consent forms for his partner.

Pan died of a rare form of hemangioma in November of the same year.

Hu applied for a funeral subsidy from the Bureau of Labor Insurance in January 2018.

The application was rejected on the grounds that Pan and Hu were in a same-sex partnership but were not legally married. Only legally married couples are entitled to the benefit, the bureau said.

Hu appealed the case several times to the bureau but was repeatedly denied until he brought the case to court.

Taiwan did not officially legalize same-sex marriage until May 17 this year after most lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and a few from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) voted to pass a Cabinet-sponsored bill.

Titled "Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748," the bill gives gay couples the right to get married and entitles them to all the rights originally reserved for married heterosexual couples. The law took effect May 24.

According to Wednesday's ruling, the court deemed Hu and Pan as de facto legally married, even though they registered their partnership before the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 took effect.

As Pan's legal partner, Hu is thus entitled to claim the funeral subsidy from the Bureau of Labor Insurance, according to the ruling.

The ruling can still be appealed, but the bureau told local media Wednesday that it will not do so and will instead issue the subsidy to Hu.

Asked to comment, Hu said he filed the lawsuit not for the subsidy but to fight for the legal rights of all registered same-sex partners, who should enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts.

(By Lin Chang-shuan and Joseph Yeh)
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