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Taiwan-Singapore couple win right to register same-sex marriage

400 transnational same-sex couples fighting to register marriage in Taiwan

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Mei Ping, daughter, Xiao C hold sign which reads, "Transnational same-sex marriages third victory." 

Mei Ping, daughter, Xiao C hold sign which reads, "Transnational same-sex marriages third victory."  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A high court on Thursday (Nov. 25) ruled that same-sex marriage between a Taiwanese citizen and a Singapore national should be recognized in Taiwan, marking the third cross-national, same-sex couple to win a lawsuit against the Household Registration Office over marriage registration.

In October 2019, Taiwanese woman Xiao C (小C) and her Singaporean partner Mei Ping (美蘋) attempted to register their marriage at the Household Registration Office, but they were rejected.

The office's rationale was that an edict issued by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) in 2019 does not permit a same-sex couple to register if one of the partners is from a country where same-sex marriage is not allowed, such as Singapore. This is based on Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements (涉外民事法律適用法).

On Thursday, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled the office only handles administrative matters when it comes to marriages and has no right to prevent the couple from registering their wedding, reported CNA. The court stated that as long as the couple can present documents that are valid and meet Taiwan's legal requirements, the Household Registration Office is obligated to register their marriage.

Taiwan-Singapore couple win right to register same-sex marriage
Mei Ping and Xiao C with their daughter. (CNA photo)

The pair is the third transnational couple to win such a victory over the Household Registration Office after a Taiwanese citizen who goes by Shinchi (信奇) and his partner from Macau called Guzifer (阿古) won in May, and Taiwanese citizen Shinchi (信奇) and his Macau partner Guzifer (阿古) were victorious in August.

However, according to the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), there are over 400 other transnational same-sex couples who have been unable to register their marriages because of the MOI's edict.

Taiwan-Singapore couple win right to register same-sex marriage
Mei Ping, daughter, and Xiao C hold sign that reads "Transnational same-sex marriages 3rd victory." (CNA photo)

In January, the Judicial Yuan approved a draft amendment of Articles 46 and 63 of the Civil Code to permit same-sex marriages in Taiwan as long as one partner is a Taiwanese citizen, regardless of the legal status of same-sex marriage in the other partner's country. The draft has been handed over to the Cabinet, which is discussing the amendment before passing it on to the Legislative Yuan for approval.

The Household Registration Office said that once it receives the court's decision, it will study it and make a determination on whether to appeal the ruling.

Taiwan-Singapore couple win right to register same-sex marriage
Mei Ping, daughter, and Xiao Ci hold sign as TAPCR members celebrate their victory. (CNA photo)


TAPCPR event marks couple's court victory.