Appointments for gay marriage registration begin in Taipei (update)

04/23/2019 11:08 PM
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Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Household registration offices across Taipei began Tuesday to accept appointments from local residents to register same-sex marriages beginning May 24, the day the Constitutional Court has set for same-sex marriages to be legalized, Taipei City government announced that day.

In line with the Constitutional ruling in 2017, household registration offices in Taipei began taking telephone and on-site appointments for same-sex marriage registration, even though the central government has not yet completed the relevant legal amendments to make same-sex marriage legal, Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs said in a statement.

The online appointment system will not be launched until after May 24, said Tseng Shu-yao (曾書瑤), a section chief from the Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs.

As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 39 same-sex couples had made appointments to be registered as married, Tseng said.

As of press time, no other cities or counties in Taiwan have announced a date on which they will start accepting appointments to register same-sex marriages, as required by the Constitutional Court ruling.

According to the statement, registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. on May 24 at all household registration offices in Taipei.

On that day, those who register will receive updated household certificates and identification cards, which indicate the marriage has been registered.

On May 24, 2017, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the Civil Code was unconstitutional and that the relevant authorities must amend or enact laws in accordance with court interpretation No. 748 within two years.

However, a referendum last November on whether to support same-sex marriage legalization through amendments to the Civil Code was defeated.

When asked: "Do you agree that the Civil Code marriage regulations should be used to guarantee the rights of same-sex couples to get married?" 6,949,697 Taiwanese voters voted against the initiative, while 3,382,286 voted in favor.

Nonetheless, the legislature on March 5 this year voted to send "The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748" to a second reading.

This is the first bill created on the basis of the constitutional interpretation and would allow gay couples to register their marriage or divorce at any household registration office.

However, to appease those who oppose treating same-sex unions as marriages, the legislature on March 15 also voted to send another draft bill, which would limit the use of the words "marriage" and "spouse" to heterosexual couples, to a second reading.

Called "The Enforcement Act of Referendum No. 12," the bill was introduced by the opposition Kuomintang and is deemed by same-sex marriage supporters to violate "The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748."

It was drafted in response to the passing of referendum No. 12, which asked, "Do you agree to types of unions, other than those stated in the marriage regulations in the Civil Code, to protect the rights of same-sex couples who live together permanently?"

Bills in Taiwan have to pass second and third readings by the full legislature before becoming law.

It is unclear what will happen if the legislature passes both the bill to allow same-sex couples to register their unions as marriages and the bill that reserves use of the words "marriage" and "spouse" for heterosexual couples.

According to ruling Democratic Progressive Party legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), cross-caucus discussions on the two bills will begin in early May in an effort to find a compromise.

(By Liang Pei-chi and Chung Yu-chen)


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