Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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In a significant stride towards marriage equality, Taiwan’s legislature has granted joint adoption rights to same-sex couples. The amendment, which passed its third reading without objection in the Legislative Yuan, extends adoption rights to same-sex couples on par with heterosexual couples under the island’s civil code, according to local media reports.

While same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan in 2019, advocates highlighted adoption restrictions as a key issue that needed to be addressed. Previously, a partner in a same-sex union could only adopt if the child was biologically related to their spouse. If the child had no biological connection to either partner, only one person could become their legal guardian. As single individuals faced no restrictions on adopting, some same-sex couples even resorted to divorce in order to adopt, as pointed out by marriage equality advocates.

The impetus for the amendment came after a groundbreaking court ruling in 2021 when a man in the southern city of Kaohsiung was granted legal guardianship of his husband’s adopted daughter. Although that ruling was celebrated by LGBTQ advocates at the time, it applied solely to that specific case, and subsequent similar cases were later rejected.

Democratic Progressive Party legislator Hung Sun-han hailed the passage of the amendment as another crucial “puzzle piece” in the ongoing efforts to expand human rights and equality for all. In a Twitter post, he stated, “Although this is a difficult road, we are continuing to assemble the human rights puzzle piece by piece.”

Earlier this year, the Taiwanese government also removed restrictions on transnational same-sex marriages, allowing Taiwanese residents to marry partners from countries like Japan or Hong Kong where same-sex marriage is not legalized. However, marriages between Taiwanese residents and individuals from mainland China of the same sex remain prohibited.

Taiwan stands as the only jurisdiction in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage. While Singapore lifted its long-standing ban on gay sex last year, it concurrently amended its constitution to prevent marriage equality. Similarly, a court in Japan upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage as constitutional.

Looking ahead, the Move Forward Party in Thailand, which secured the majority of seats in the recent election, has pledged to legalize same-sex marriage if it forms the government. Additionally, India’s Supreme Court is expected to make a landmark ruling on same-sex marriage this summer in a case involving 18 couples.

According to the American-based LGBTQ advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, only 34 countries worldwide currently recognize same-sex marriage. Taiwan’s latest move further solidifies its position as a trailblazer in the region for advancing LGBTQ rights and promoting marriage equality.

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