Taiwan News
Taiwan county joins same-sex partnership recording trend
Changhua County is the latest municipality in Taiwan offering same-sex couples the right to record their partnerships at household registration offices, underscoring the nation’s increasingly liberal approach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender demographic.

Although the record is not legally binding, it does represent a strong step forward in raising public awareness and understanding of LGBT issues. Changhua’s commencement of the service earlier this month sees it join the ranks of Hsinchu County, as well as Chiayi, Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan cities—all of which implemented similar measures over the past year.

Reva Lin, an official from the Civil Registry Section at Changhua County Government, said the measure reflects the makeup of the central Taiwan municipality’s population of 1.28 million, the seventh largest on the island.

“Three couples were waiting for us to open on our first day,” Lin said. “We respect and understand the needs of these people, and are working with local activists to ensure Changhua is at the forefront in providing equal and fair treatment for residents.”

According to Lin, Changhua has implemented the same standard as other local governments in permitting unmarried residents over the ages of 20 to record a same-sex relationship and choose to make the information available to third parties like health care providers, police and social welfare organizations. In the case of emergency surgery or invasive treatment, the record gives a same-sex partner the right to sign a patient consent form.

To date, more than 500 same-sex couples have registered partnerships in the nine municipalities encompassing over 75 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million people. Registered female couples outnumber males, a trend attributed by Wang Ya-ko, professor of cultural and gender studies at National Taipei University’s Department of Sociology, to traditional societal pressure for a man to continue the family name.

“The recording service bears strong cultural and symbolical significance, and is key to advancing Taiwan toward the creation of a society without LGBT bias,” Wang said, adding that it also augurs well for the possibility of legally recognizing same-sex marriage.

Under the Civil Code, only a man and woman can be joined in matrimony. An amendment redefining the concept of family and clearing the way for legally recognized same-sex partnerships and household registrations is before the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee in Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s highest lawmaking body. It is expected to receive greater attention during the current legislative session.

Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in terms of equality of gender and sexual orientation in Asia. Laws like 2004’s Act of Gender Equality in Employment and Gender Equity Education Act prevent and punish discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in workplaces and educational institutions. (JSM) 

Source: Taiwan Today
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