Taiwan court rejects marriage application by same-sex couple

Activists call for quicker action by Taipei City and central government

Attorneys commenting on Thursday's ruling.

Attorneys commenting on Thursday's ruling. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Despite last May’s decision by the Council of Grand Justices that a ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, a court on Thursday rejected an appeal by two women against the Taipei City Government’s refusal to approve their marriage.

Taiwan has long been named as the Asian country most likely to legalize same-sex marriage, and last May’s decision by its top judicial institution has been seen as a landmark in that direction.

However, in Thursday’s case, the Taipei Administrative High Court said it had to reject the application because the relevant authorities, namely the Legislative Yuan, had not yet approved the necessary legislation, while a two-year period after which the right to same-sex marriage would become automatic had not yet ended.

The two women in Thursday’s case, Fang Min (方敏) and Lin Yu-li (林于立), were part of a group of 30 same-sex couples who had turned up at city offices in August 2014 to apply to marry. After they were turned down, three couples decided to take further legal action, which was temporary halted while the Council of Grand Justices considered its overall case.

The recent hearings featured both Fang and Lin, as well as the capital’s Zhongzheng District which had turned them down, the Central News Agency reported.

The attorneys for the two women called on Taipei City to introduce the registration of same-sex couples and on the central government to hurry up with the necessary legislation.

Premier William Lai initially said that the current legislative session would be occupied by the review of the central government budget, but he later expressed his support for same-sex marriage and confirmed his Cabinet was still forging ahead on the issue.