Step taken toward allowing international same-sex marriages

01/22/2021 08:27 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) The Judicial Yuan on Friday approved draft revisions to a law that would grant recognition to all international same-sex marriages, except for those involving a partner from China, and said it will send them to the Legislature for review.

The changes would apply to Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, which states that "the formation of a marriage is governed by the national law of each party."

In practice, this has meant that same-sex couples involving a partner from a country in which gay marriage is illegal are not allowed to marry in Taiwan or have a marriage conducted in a third country legally recognized.

In a press release, the Judicial Yuan said it had recommended changing the law to allow and recognize such marriages as long as one of the partners is a Republic of China (Taiwan) national.

It explained the decision by noting that gay marriage is currently only legal in 29 countries around the world.

Despite its recommendation, the Judicial Yuan said the changes would not apply to couples involving a partner from China, which is subject to separate laws governing Taiwan-China relations.

They would apply, though, to couples involving a partner from Hong Kong or Macau, which fall under another jurisdiction, according to the Judicial Yuan, the judicial branch of government that oversees Taiwan's court system and runs the Constitutional Court.

The draft revisions will be sent to the Executive Yuan before they are jointly submitted by the two government branches to the Legislature for its consideration.

Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled on May 24, 2017 that the country's Civil Code provisions that did not allow same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, giving the government two years to amend them.

In May 2019, the Legislature passed a marriage equality law extending to same-sex couples almost all the marriage rights available to heterosexual couples under the Civil Code.

The law went into effect on May 24, 2019, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

(By Lin Chang-shun and Matthew Mazzetta)

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