Around a hundred people attended an engagement ceremony for a gay couple on International Human Rights' Day to urge the government to squarely face homosexual rights issues in Taiwan, including legalizing same-sex marriage and giving rights to homosexual couples.
Taiwan's Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus Chairman Nelson Chen said that in an attempt to get the public's blessing for his relationship, he intentionally picked yesterday to host a party that would raise public awareness of the importance of legalizing same-sex marriages.
Part of the third gay couple to host a public ceremony in Taiwan, Chen said he and his partner would donate the cash gifts to gay rights groups to fund social work.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Yun-peng said he was moved by the couple's determination and courage to persist in their beliefs and vowed to help to push for the passage of gay rights bills.
In 2003, the Cabinet drafted a controversial bill to legalize same-sex marriage and recognize the right of homosexual couples to adopt children, but the bill is still pending in the Legislature.
Taipei City Councilor Lee Wen-ying said people should have the right to admit their sexual orientation, whether they were heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. The city government has also allotted funding for the annual gay parade and the public should stop viewing homosexuals through stereotypical prejudices, she added.
Wang Ping (王蘋), secretary-general of the Gender/Sexuality Rights Association in Taiwan, said that as same-sex marriage is still prohibited by law in Taiwan, the ceremony's had only symbolic meaning.
"Being in a homosexual relationship is not difficult," she added. "What is difficult is coming out of the closet and asking for other people's blessing."
With the rights bill tied up in the Legislature, Wang suggested that Taiwan could adopt San Francisco's system and establish a system of "partner registration" at the local government level.