Taipei, May 19 (CNA) A gay rights group on Tuesday criticized a Kaohsiung city government plan to accept lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) by marking their partners in city records, saying it is merely a measure to "make fun of" the community without having any substantive effect.
The city government, in a bid to show respect and goodwill toward a pluralistic culture, announced last week that it will start accepting the "sunshine marking" in its household registration and conscription information system.
Taiwan LGBT Rights Advocacy called a press conference at the Legislature Tuesday in which it said that the public might think the notation will allow the community to gain more respect legally and in city affairs, but that "this is not true."
The group said the "sunshine marking" should actually be named "closet marking," as the marking is no different from putting the info into the closet without anyone knowing about it.
Chen Chih-ming (陳志明), a spokesman for the group, said that after asking the city government, it learned that the information will have no legal effect in any medical institutions.
On remarks by the Kaohsiung city government that the marking is aimed at providing gay groups with "mental consolation," he said that this is "utterly unacceptable."
Chen also said that two municipalities -- Taipei and Taoyuan -- will allow members of the LGBT community to take part in mass weddings in the two municipalities, but the four others -- New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- declined to allow them to take part because they said the current law only recognizes heterosexual marriages.
But he said that after the Civil Code was revised in 2007 to require registration to give validity to marriage, the mass wedding is simply a form of city government "blessing" for the couples, but the four cities are still too mean to allow the participation of LGBT groups, even though it would cost them nothing.
He described this as "very disappointing."
He noted that Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) used to be friendly toward the gay community but has unveiled no policies friendly to LGBT groups since assuming office late last year, and is even unwilling to allow gays to take part in mass weddings.
In response, Tseng Tzu-wen (曾姿雯), head of the Kaohsiung city government's Bureau of Civil Affairs, said that it regrets the group's complaints and pledges to work harder to give the measure a legal basis, as the nation's Civil Code only recognizes heterosexual marriages, which means people from the LGBT community cannot register for same-sex unions.
She said the marking is a friendly gesture toward the LGBT community. If they come forward to mark their partners, then the city government will provide administrative assistance should hospitals or other government offices require related certificates.
(By Ta Ya-chen, Wang Shu-fen and Lilian Wu)ENDITEM/J