TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei City Government announced on Tuesday (April 23) that it would allow gay couples to “book” their marriage registration starting today, one month before the deadline set by Taiwan’s Constitutional Court for the government to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.
To assist same-sex couples planning their marriages for May 24, the first day of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, the city government decided to take on-site and telephone bookings for marriage registration starting Tuesday, said the city’s Department of Civil Affairs via a press statement.
The staff at house registration offices across the city will do whatever they can to help couples complete necessary marriage registration procedures on May 24, and to update their ID cards and household certificates, said the department.
On May 24, 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the articles in the Civil Code which exclude same-sex couples from establishing marriage were unconstitutional.
The court requested that authorities amend the code or enact relevant laws within two years from the day of the ruling. If adjustments are not made within the deadline, same-sex couples will be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated in accordance with the existing Civil Code as it applies to heterosexual couples.
However, two public referendums, which took place last November, showed that the majority of the Taiwanese population opposes the inclusion of gay marriage under the Civil Code and would prefer separate legislation to provide for same-sex unions.
Hence, the government has been pressured to introduce a new bill instead of revising the Civil Code directly, and to make sure that the bill accords with the Constitutional Court’s interpretation and at the same time, respects the result of the public referendums.
In February, the Executive Yuan unveiled a draft, the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, that will effectively legalize gay marriage. The draft was backed by the majority of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and some from the New Power Party (NPP).
However, legislators from the opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT), intent on countering the Cabinet’s draft, introduced another draft in March, the Enforcement Act of Referendum No. 12, which is seen by pro-gay marriage groups as conflicting the Constitutional Court’s ruling. The draft has also gained bipartisan support in the Legislative Yuan, including from DPP lawmakers.
Due to a lack of consensus, the two drafts have since been stalled in the Legislative Yuan.