Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, has begun allowing same-sex couples to register their partnerships, a month after another large city in the nation did the same — which some activists see as a sign that Taiwan is ready for same-sex relationship recognition on the national level.
The Taipei city government began accepting registrations from same-sex couples Wednesday, reports the news site Focus Taiwan. The government of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s biggest port city, made the same move a month ago.
The registrations, available at no cost, are symbolic and confer no benefits, but they may be helpful in providing proof of a relationship in the case of legal disputes, some activists pointed out, adding that they send a message to the national government that same-sex relationships are now accepted in Taiwan.
Lu Hsin-chieh, who is running for a seat in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s national lawmaking body, said the Yuan and the Ministry of Justice should take note of this acceptance and consider a national marriage equality law, Focus Taiwan reports. A study released last year by the Institute of Sociology of Academia Sinica likewise indicates that the Taiwanese population would approve of equal marriage rights, she said.
She also said the Taipei and Kaohsiung city governments could go further by making spousal benefits available to registered partners of city employees, and by sharing all household registration data with the National Health Insurance data system so that partners can make medical decisions for each other. Right now unmarried partners can do this if they sign an information-sharing agreement with hospitals, courts, and police, Gay Star News notes.
The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights also urged city governments to extend spousal benefits to employees’ registered partners, Gay Star News reports.