Taiwan courts to review same-sex marriage

Marriage equality advocates in Taiwan are hopeful a decision to hold a constitutional review on same-sex marriage will be a positive step forward.

The Council of Grand Justices form the Judicial Yuan (Constitutional Court) which is one of the five branches of government in Taiwan.

On Friday it applied for a constitutional interpretation of the marriage law by Taipei City’s Bureau of Civil Affairs.

The council also approved a live broadcast of the debate of marriage equality advocate Chi Chia-wei’s case.

Chi filed a suit 18 months ago to overturn the restrictions on marriage equality in Taiwan. But it has taken the council’s justices a long time to agree to review the issue.

‘We believe that the justice’s willingness to review this issue is a step forward, because they could have chosen to keep shelving the case and ignoring it,’ said Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh.

Marriage equality gains momentum

Taiwan may become the first Asian country to approve same-sex marriage after a legislative committee approved a preliminary amendment to the Civil Code.

‘The Legislative Yuan announced in December last year that a review of same-sex marriage legislation would start again in April, so the Judicial Yuan’s choice to hold hearings in March is extremely interesting and we trust that it is not a coincidence.’

Despite the fact the council might not rule in favour of marriage equality, Chien was confident it will become a reality at some point.

‘Depending on the social atmosphere, either legislative or judicial legalization is possible at this point, and greater visibility and discussion will make it more likely that one route or the other will succeed,’ she said.

‘It is not impossible that the court will rule to uphold the constitutionality of the existing laws, but we feel the probability of such a ruling is not great.’

A poll released in December revealed 37.8% of Taiwanese people supported same-sex marriage with 13.6% strongly in favor. 56% were opposed with 34.8% strongly against same-sex marriage.

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