Same-sex marriage in Taiwan

I tried posting this to the Marriage in Taiwan thread. However, no one responded. So, I’m going to try it here all by it’s itty-bitty lonesome and see if I can get a response…

I’ve heard from a few friends, both foreigners and Taiwanese, that the Taiwanese government is considering legalizing same-sex marriages. Anyone know if this is true? Also, what are the details – e.g., would this include foreign partners? How close is it to being passed? Etc…

Any information you can give me is appreciated.


In connection with my human rights work with various disadvantaged persons in Taiwan, including unmarried women (after childbirth), stateless persons, foreigners, ROC citizens without residency rights, refugees, etc. I have attended a number of meetings at the Taiwan Association for Human Rights. Their contact information is as follows:
tel: 886 2 2363 9787
fax: 886 2 2363 6102
address: 9th Fl, No. 3, Lane 25, Hsin Sheng South Road, Sec. 3, Taipei

There have usually been members from the “same-sex rights groups” in attendance. Hence, you might want to contact the TAHR to see if they can give you contact information for those groups.

Peter Huang used to be President of the TAHR. He is involved with other activities at present, but he might be a good contact person for you, because he is fluent in English. So, if you can’t get anywhere over the telephone, try to get a contact number for Peter. He can probably direct you to some knowledgeable people in order to get your questions answered.

Originally posted by Hartzell: In connection with my human rights work with various disadvantaged persons in Taiwan, including unmarried women...

Oh come on Richard! I know we men are god’s gift to womankind but really! You are not seriously classing unmarried women as disadvantaged, are you?

The unmarried woman I was counseling could not get her children’s births registered. Hence the children were stateless. She had been unable to get “stateless ARCs” for them either. I got those ARCs after about a year, and then we sued the local Household Registration Office for their birth registrations. The MOI finally relented about 2 years into the court proceedings.

OK, so what you meant to type was “unmarried mothers,” then.

Sorry, I feel pedantic today.

[i]To the extent that Taiwan law follows German law, this recent decision of Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court is interesting. Notice however that in Germany this is referred to as “registered partnership”, and not “marriage” – [/i]

German Press and Information Office

Published on 19. July 2002 16:25 h

Federal Constitutional Court rules in favour of registered partnerships for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples have received legal security for long-term partnerships. On July 17, 2002, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the Act on Registered Partnerships is constitutional and does not breach Article 6 of the German Basic Law, which stipulates that marriage and family shall enjoy the special protection of the state.

Government Spokesman Uwe-Karsten Heye acknowledged the July 17 ruling as an “impressive endorsement of the Federal Government’s reform policy to reduce discrimination against gays and lesbians in Germany”.

The law on registered partnerships is based on a Federal Government initiative. The State Governments of Bavaria, Saxony, and Thuringia instituted judicial proceedings on the constitutionality of the law.

Heye explained that the Federal Government now expects the Supplementary Act on Lifetime Partnerships to be approved. In addition to provisions on taxation law and on the law relating to public employees, this legislation, which still has to be adopted by the Bundesrat, also envisages lifetime partnerships being taken into consideration in the assessment and payment of social security benefits. The Government Spokesman said the Federal Government also considers the ruling an endorsement of its overall course of social policy reform, which includes the new Immigration Act.

End of discrimination against gays and lesbians

Key points of the legislation on registered partnerships are:

* the right to specify a joint name
* mutual rights and obligations with regard to maintenance
* "minor custody rights" of the registered partner, i.e. the right to participate in decisions on matters relating to the daily life of a child brought into the partnership by a partner
* the legal right to an inheritance from the surviving registered partner
* the right of the surviving partner to assume the tenancy agreement of a deceased partner
* the right to refuse to give evidence
* the inclusion of the registered partner in medical and nursing
  care insurance plans
* the right of a foreign partner to join a partner in Germany and the right of foreign partners to naturalization
* provisions on the consequences of the dissolution of registered partnerships (e.g. maintenance rights).

Not the same as marriage

By a majority of five votes to three, the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed the Federal Government’s view that the provisions of legislation on same-sex partnerships did not entail complete equality with marriage.

Although the German Basic Law stipulates that marriage and family shall enjoy special protection, it does not follow that there is a “differentiation requirement” between them and same-sex partnerships which would prohibit the possibility of a legal bond for the latter. The necessary differentiation was provided adequately by the difference between marriages of men and women and registered partnerships.

Need for only one improvement

The Federal Constitutional Court called upon the legislature to improve the legislation on only one point: provision has to be made for the eventuality that one of the partners in a registered partnership subsequently wishes to marry. Two options are possible here: either the prior dissolution of the registered partnership or the automatic invalidity of the registered partnership in the event of marriage.

Additional information from the Federal Ministry of Justice

German Press and Information Office

I am aware of the German position but cannot see that it follows that there will be any affect on Taiwanese legislation. American law is based on the British common law system, but the laws are radically different in many ways. Indeed if Taiwan followed Germany this closely, it would be illegal to put a Nazi swastika on your moped.

Esteemed Hartzell:

Funny, it’s been years and years that I have been aware that we gays are gaining ground – and soon will receive – equal rights on chosen partners, but what I don’t know is why it’s so important. What are the advantages over singles does Taiwan’s government give to straight married couples in Taiwan?
I understand that joint filing of taxes and a certain tax break exist? Also, aren’t spouses allowed to open joint accounts and the like? Doesn’t the law say that married couples own half of each other’s (unhidden) wealth? Or is it some other percentage.

I am also wondering… my partner once told me that currently in Taiwan there is a law saying he can not leave me everything even if he wanted to. What’s greatest bequest that a “friend” can receive in Taiwan? Looking at it the other way. Let’s say I croak before he does? Would Taiwan keep me from leaving him everything? I am a foreign not permanent resident.

Personally, I believe equal right should be given, but it should be called “partnership” and not marriage. Marriage is clearly defined in every dictionary and most holy scriptures as union between man and woman: there should be an alternative type of union. I also believe bi-/ straight couples should be allowed to choose between “partnership” and “marriage” to indicate that they are not emphasizing gender and tradition in their union so much as their mutual love.

This is a spin on the “separate but equal,” concept without segregation/apartheid. The only difference between “partnership” and “marriage” being merely semantic.

Personally, I think that “marriage” implies a religious ceremony of some kind. Therefore, I do not think that marriages of any kind should be recognized by the US government, as there is a separation of church in state in the US. I am fully supportive of taking out “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and removing “in God we trust” from US currency as well.

Therefore, “partnerships,” both gay and straight, should be recognized by the US gov for all purposes (taxes, insurance, inheritance rights, immigration, etc.). As far as I can tell, if you’re gay, you can immigrate to Australia, Canada, and Britain (maybe even to any country in the EU) as long as your partner is from that country, but not the US–the “land of equality”…for straight male WASPs. Luckily, things are changing in the US and all over the world. For more daily updates on gay issues, check out AND .

As for Taiwan, I think that they will slowly accept gay rights as well, because the religious people here are usually less sensitive to this issue. The States has too many rich, homophobic religious groups that proactively try to ban gay benefits and rights. I don’t hear or see that happening here. On the other hand, the gay community here is more closeted and therefore less demanding of their rights as well.

Just some food for thought. Bye!

the gay community here is more closeted and therefore less
demanding of their rights as well.

Then what about the big fundraiser at the City Council held recently by http;// . Anyways why don’t go walk over to
http:/// near TaiDa and ask there. Or ask some of the professors at

First Canadian couple ties the knot

Two Montreal men became the first gay couple to be joined in a civil union in Canada, taking advantage of a new provincial law in Quebec allowing common-law unions of same-sex couples. Surrounded by 150 family and friends, Roger Thibault, 56, and Theo Wouter, 60, held a commitment ceremony at city hall Thursday. The couple, who have lived together for 29 years, attempted for seven years to ensure one of the men can financially benefit if the other dies.

The couple arrived in style in a white stretch limousine. Wouter, a tailor by trade, created the matching East Indian linen outfits–cream for him and black for Thibault, who is a photography technician at the University of Montreal. Thibault told reporters that the civil union, which became possible under the provincial law that took effect July 1, 2002, was more than symbolic. “It assured us of material security,” he said. "We have seen so many gay and lesbian couples whose families have successfully contested wills that favored the gay partner. “This gives us rights. My university pension will go to Theo.”

An Ontario court ruled last week that Canada’s policy of refusing legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages was unconstitutional, but the court gave the federal and Ontario provincial governments two years to rewrite legislation to recognize same-sex marriage.

I won’t get into the semantics debate or the separation of church and state issue. As a gay Christian (I know, people think that’s an oxymoron), though, I don’t care what they call it.

I just want to have the same rights as straight couples, including (and most importantly to me) immigration. Lack of immigration rights for same-sex couples is one of the reasons my boyfriend and I had to leave the US. He was unable to find a job there, and couldn’t get a visa through me… so…

Anyway… thanks for the information.


If you really need to live in an English-speaking country, I think that if one of you two qualify to immigrate to Canada or OZ, the other one of you can piggyback on his visa. It’s another option, which in a way is fair: neither one of you lives in your own home country.


I’m a gay American and I’ve been living in Taiwan for 9 years. Trust me, most of the gays here abide by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy or 睜一眼閉一眼 (I think that’s how u say it in Chinese). The older the Taiwanese gay, the more likely he’s in the closet. Even if the parents “know,” they probably haven’t been explicitly told so by their son/daughter. If up to 10% of the population is gay, where are the two million gays of Taiwan?! Oftentimes, they’re living with their parents and don’t want to make waves, so they just keep their mouths shut. The funny thing is that the longer I’m here, the more I understand their feelings. Most people here don’t seem to care either way, so why bother offending those that do?

I’ve been to Jingjing’s bookstore and teahouse several times. Not really impressed, but it’s better than nothing. Personally, I prefer to chat with the owner of Funky, who is also a social worker and been with his lover for over 17 years.

As for those professors, I don’t see where they admit to being gay or lesbian. Sure, some of them might be, probably are?, but even they probably don’t want to admit it out of fear of causing problems. Instead, they hide behind “women’s studies,” “gender studies” and such to mask their orientation.

The hotline? Yeah, know about it too, and it provides a very important service. I have a friend who works there, but he doesn’t dare tell his family either. Funny, huh?


Originally posted by LJ: I just want to have the same rights as straight couples...

But can I get back to my original question: What rights does marriage grant??? I understand immigration stuff, but what other advantages are there to marriage?

Here are some of the advantages to same-sex marriages. Taken from the Dutch Ministry of Justice

I believe what makes same-sex marriage rights so importants is the ‘General Community of Property’ and the 'Right of Inheritance"


The consequences of marriage between two men or two women are much the same as those of marriage between a man and a woman. There are, however, some major differences relating to children and acceptance abroad. Before we look at the differences, we will list the rights and obligations that correspond.

Surname: Under Dutch law, spouses may use each other’s surname, in combination with or instead of their own. This does not apply to official documents, in which their own name always has to be used.

Maintenance: Married couples are obliged to do what is within their means to support each other. In principle, they each have to contribute to the costs of running the household.

General community of property: Under Dutch law,within marriage all assets and debts are in principle shared. Couples who want to make alternative arrangements have to do so in a prenuptial agreement, which has to be drawn up by a notary.

Pensions: Anyone who contributes to a pension scheme builds up entitlements to a retirement or surviving dependants’ pension. The entitlements built up to a retirement pension during marriage have to be divided between the partners in the event of a divorce. Here too, married couples can make their own arrangements. The surviving dependants’ pension accrues to the surviving partner on the death of his/her spouse.

Legal transactions: In certain cases, married couples must have each other’s permission before they can enter into obligations or take decisions. Examples include the sale of the matrimonial home and the conclusion of a hire purchase agreement.

Inheritance: The law of succession applies equally to same-sex married couples and married couples of different sexes. However, couples may make alternative arrangements. To do so, they need to arrange for a notary to draw up a will.

Relationship by marriage: Through marriage, couples enter into a relationship with the members of their spouse’s family. These “in-laws” have specific rights. For example, in certain court cases, they are not obliged to act as witnesses against their relative’s spouse.[/i]

However, a same-sex marriage could also cause potential problems in countries where same-sex marriages are not recognised.

[i]Recognition of the marriage abroad

At the start of this booklet, we pointed out that the Netherlands is the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. Some European countries have introduced registered partnership, but the Netherlands occupies a unique position when it comes to marriage. This means that same-sex married couples will have to take account of the fact that their marriage and its legal consequences will not always be accepted in other countries.

Legal advice: Apart from practical problems and problems in the social sphere, a same-sex married couple may also encounter legal problems. During a short stay abroad, on holiday for instance, the problems are likely to be practical or social in nature. But if they plan to stay abroad longer, or to emigrate, legal problems are likely to arise, for instance in relation to rights of inheritance. However, the fact that a country does not recognise the marriage does not mean that it attaches no legal consequences to the marriage at all. It is possible, for instance, that the property law aspects of the relationship are recognised.

Before such problems can arise, it is important for couples to seek expert legal advice either in the Netherlands or in the country in which they are residing. It might, for instance, be necessary to make further arrangements with regard to their property, or to make a will. The Dutch consulate will usually be able to say which expert or agency to contact.

The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba: Same-sex marriage is recognised in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, though it is not possible for same-sex couples to marry there.[/i]

It is also important to note that one does not need to get ‘married’ in the traditional sense of this term, an alternative is to have a 'registered partnership"


Registered partnership was introduced in 1998. Since that time, same-sex couples have been able to enter into a regulated form of cohabitation which, in law, is equal to marriage in practically every way. Nonetheless, it has now been decided to allow same-sex couples to marry. The principle of equal treatment was decisive. For many people, marriage is a symbol that carries a special meaning. They see it as a way of confirming their commitment to each other. There is no reason why same-sex couples should be denied the opportunity to do so.

The Netherlands is the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. Couples concerned must take account of the fact that their marriage will not always be accepted in other countries. The same also applies to registered partnership.

Civil marriage, registered partnership, cohabitation agreement

From 1 April 2001, couples wanting to formalise a relationship can choose from three options: civil marriage, registered partnership or a cohabitation agreement.

Registered partnership is in many ways equal to marriage. A cohabitation agreement is very different, since it only covers items which the parties themselves want it to cover. With marriage and registered partnership, most of the rights and obligations are laid down by law. Maintenance is a good example. Married couples and the parties to a registered partnership are obliged to support each other. This obligation only applies to the parties to a cohabitation agreement if they have included a provision to this effect. [/i]

Anybody want to place bets on when Urbanjet moves to Amsterdam???

As for those [ ] professors, I don’t see where
they admit to being gay or lesbian. Sure, some of them might be,
probably are?, but even they probably don’t want to admit it out of
fear of causing problems. Instead, they hide behind “women’s studies,”
“gender studies” and such to mask their orientation.

Take a second look [at ]. I’m sure you’ll
agree that Prof. He Chunrui 何春蕤 is right on
target with her many news conferences. Indeed with such a progressive
voice on so many issues, I don’t think her personal orientation is a

I’ve been saying this for years: Taiwan should grant and fully recognize same-sex marriages.

While I happen to think that every country should do that anyway, I have a reason specific to Taiwan. This country has said it’s going to double the number of tourist arrivals in the next six years. With the relatively poor state of the infrastructure of the tourism sector, however, that’s a tough order to fill.

With legal same-sex marriages, Taiwan would get a boost in tourism from a relatively affluent and well-educated demographic group – the kind of people who help to bring in other tourists and boost Taiwan’s “visibility.” Taiwan wouldn’t even have to do much adverstising for this, because the media would get the word out for the island.

Indeed, I just asked Prof. He Chunrui 何春蕤 what
she thought about my comment above and she said:

Claiming a marginalized sexual orientation is a very positive thing,
but working actively to justify this orientation is just as positive,
if not more powerful, than simply assuming the marginalized position.

Originally posted by O'Brian: Anybody want to place bets on when Urbanjet moves to Amsterdam??? [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Visited Amsterdam a couple of times, but not my type of place. They do offer Indonesian girls which you seem to have a thing for.