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More than 1,600 guests attend collective same-sex wedding banquet

2019-05-26  English News
Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei, May 25 (CNA) More than 1,600 people gathered Saturday evening on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei for a wedding banquet for several same-sex couples, as part of the LGBT community's celebration of Taiwan's legalization of same-sex marriage the previous day.

Organized by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), the outdoor banquet consisted of 160 tables at which nine traditional Taiwanese courses were served.

According to TAPCPR co-founder and Executive Director Victoria Hsu, the original plan was to have 120 tables, but the seats sold out within a week and the number of tables was increased to 160.

The seats at the banquet cost NT$1,000 (US$31.4) each or NT$10,000 per table.

Hsu said the 1,600 guests included 20 same-sex couples, their friends and families, and supporters of marriage equality.

"We held a similar wedding banquet on Ketagalan Boulevard in 2013, before we put forward three bills to the Legislature on the formation of diverse families," and the 1,200 guests were invited to return to the same spot when a same-sex marriage bill was passed, Hsu said.

She said the TAPCPR decided to celebrate Taiwan's historic legalization of gay marriage with a collective wedding banquet because "getting married is a joyous event that everyone should share."

One of the same-sex couples at the banquet, who asked to be identified as Janet and Choya, told CNA they had been together for almost 15 years and planned to register their marriage in June.

"We hope Taiwanese society can see how many people can now find happiness because of the passage of the same-sex marriage bill," said Janet, who was wearing a white bridal dress.

Several politicians who are known as gay rights supporters, including ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), were among the invited guests.

The Legislative Yuan on May 17 passed the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 to allow two people of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register a marriage. The act was signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday and took effect on Friday, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, 526 same-sex couples -- 185 male and 341 female -- registered their marriages on the first day.

Hsu said, however, that the new law has some omissions that need to be addressed by the government and lawmakers as soon as possible.

She noted that the law does not permit the adoption of one partner's non-biological children by the other, and fails to address the legal obstacles faced by hundreds of transnational gay couples in Taiwan.

Under Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, "the formation of a marriage is governed by the national law of each party," which means a transnational marriage cannot be registered in Taiwan unless it is recognized in the home countries of both partners.