The Taipei High Administrative Court on Thursday ordered a household registration office to register a same-sex marriage involving a foreign national from a jurisdiction in which such marriages are illegal.
Taipei’s Zhongzheng District Household Registration Office had refused to register the marriage of Taiwanese Ting Tse-yan (丁則言) and his Macanese partner, Guzifer Leong (梁展輝), when they attempted to do so on Oct. 1, 2019.
The office based its decision on Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements (涉外民事法律適用法), which states that “the formation of a marriage is governed by the national laws of each party.”
It means that same-sex couples involving a partner from a nation or area in which same-sex marriage is illegal — such as Macau — cannot marry in Taiwan or have a marriage conducted in a third nation legally recognized.
In its ruling, the administrative court cited Article 6 of the same act, which states that in specific situations where Taiwanese courts must consider the civil laws of foreign jurisdictions, the foreign law should be applied unless that nation’s laws specifically state that Taiwanese law should be applied.
Under the Macau Civil Code, legal jurisdiction for civil matters is based on a person’s place of “habitual residence,” it said.
Therefore, since Leong is a resident of Taiwan, Taiwanese law allowing same-sex marriage should take precedent, it added.
The court ordered the household registration office to validate the registration that the couple submitted in 2019.
Leong on Thursday thanked the court for its ruling, while noting that many other international same-sex couples in Taiwan have found themselves in the same situation.
Leong, who came to Taiwan in 2017 and runs a small bakery with his partner, said that he has long come to regard Taiwan as his home.
As of press time last night, it was unclear whether the household registration office would appeal the decision.
Chiu Shih-jung (邱士榮), director of the neighboring Daan Household Registration Office, said that the ruling likely “was not final” and that it applied only to the specific couple.
The bigger issue is that laws on how to treat international same-sex marriages lack uniformity, Chiu said.
“Civil servants hope that legal amendments correcting this situation will quickly be passed, so that they have a clear legal process to follow,” he said, referring to the Judicial Yuan in January approving draft legal amendments that would recognize nearly all same-sex marriages.
The amendments, which would revise Article 46 to recognize all same-sex marriages as long as one of the partners is Taiwanese, are awaiting Executive Yuan approval.
They would then need to be passed by the legislature.
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on