by Sabine Hannakampf
Premiere in Taiwan: For the first time two homosexual couples participated in this year’s mass wedding of the Taiwanese military. Along with 186 other members of the army, Lieutenant Chen Ying-xuan and Major Wang Yi entered into a life-long bond with their partners. The ceremony took place on October 30th, one day before the annual LGBTIQ* parade in Taipei, the Taiwan Pride, which can also be visited online this year.
Mass weddings are one of the highlights of the year in Taiwan and are followed with great interest by the media as well as by the population. This year, dozens of wedding photos of the 188 couples were published on Facebook for voting. One couple was particularly popular: the photo of Wang Yi and Meng You-mei received more than 34,000 Likes on Facebook.
Taiwan’s army announced in a statement that the inclusion of same-sex couples in this year’s ceremony reflected the “enlightened [and] progressive” attitude of the military. Every couple – regardless of their sexual orientation – will receive the military blessing: “Our country is the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, and the ministry also blesses same-sex soldiers who marry.
Two lesbian couples have tied the knot in a mass wedding held by Taiwan’s military in a historic celebration. This is the first time same-sex couples married at a military ceremony. Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage. https://t.co/KuSwggbeVW
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 30, 2020
Meng You-mei’s parents unfortunately did not come to the ceremony, but Wang Yi’s parents supported the couple. “I really think this is a big breakthrough for the military,” Wang Yi’s mother told AP.
“For heterosexual couples, it may be just a piece of paper, but for homosexual couples it is very important. If they are sick or have major surgery, they are nothing if they don’t have the paper. They can’t make a decision.”
LGBTIQ*s in Taiwan
At last year’s military ceremony, three homosexual couples were also supposed to marry. However, due to “social pressure” they had finally decided otherwise. This shows that the introduction of same-sex marriage 18 months ago did not go quite smoothly.
In 2017 Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry legally. However, because the majority of Taiwanese rejected the equality of marriage and there were public backlashes, it was decided not to change the existing definition of marriage and instead enact a special law for same-sex marriages. Since then, about 4,000 homosexual couples have said yes to each other.
De facto this means that same-sex couples are subject to some restrictions. Taiwanese who wish to marry foreigners of the same sex can only do so if their partner’s home country also legally recognizes the equality of marriage. In addition, although homosexual couples have the same inheritance and visiting rights as heterosexual couples and are also treated equally in terms of taxation, they do not enjoy full equality in adoption. Homosexual couples may only adopt a child if the child is genetically related to the spouse.
- Bildschirmfoto 2020-10-31 um 17.10.18: By: Screenshot Euronews
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