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MAC aims to amend marriage laws for same sex Chinese-Taiwanese couples

Gay Chinese citizens can receive legal certificates of partnership with Taiwanese spouses, but marriage licenses still unavailable

MAC aims to amend marriage laws for same sex Chinese-Taiwanese couples

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Straits Exchange Foundation (海基會) on Wednesday (May 29) confirmed that Ministry of the Interior is prepared to grant legal certificates recognizing gay partnerships between citizens of China and citizens of Taiwan, however regular marriage licenses are still unavailable.

As the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) works towards amending cross-strait regulations to permit marriage between gay couples with one partner from China, for the time being such couples are encouraged to register for a certificate recognizing their legal partnership as a first step.

The Chinese citizen first needs to complete an application to certify their unmarried status at a household registry office of a Taiwanese county or municipality.

Once they have the certificate, the Chinese citizen and their Taiwanese spouse can complete the registry to receive the certificate of legal partnership.

The announcement from the Straits Exchange Foundation noted that there have already been two individuals from China that have successfully completed the process since the legalization of gay marraige in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s MAC is reportedly organizing cross-department consultations to expedite the process to amend regulations, and to ensure administrative support for personal background checks of incoming Chinese spouses, reports Liberty Times.

Since May 24, when same-sex marriage was legalized by the government of Taiwan as a constitutional right for homosexual couples, many Taiwanese have been able to legally marry their foreign spouses.

However, the Straits Exchange Foundation on May 29 has now clarified that spouses from China are currently only eligible for sharing a partnership certificate with their Taiwanese partner under the new laws.

Due to certain administrative difficulties, it may be some time before the government agencies are able to grant the legal marriage licenses to cross-strait couples.

Article 46 of Taiwan's new marriage laws covers "the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements", and includes the clause that a legal union between partners will be governed "by the national law of each party." This effectively means spouses from countries from nations which do not recognize gay marriage can not be granted a legal marriage license in Taiwan.

In China, same-sex marriage remains illegal. However, many are hopeful that the MAC may be able to amend current regulations governing cross-strait marriage to allow for gay persons from China to be eligible for marriage certificates with their Taiwanese partners.