The issue of same-sex marriage is to be heard by Taiwan’s Supreme Justices, or Judicial Yuan, in what could result in a landmark ruling and the first legal same-sex marriages in Asia if the case is a success.
Chen Ching-hsueh and long term partner Kao Chih-wei filed a complaint with the Taipei High Administrative Court earlier this year after a local household registration agency refused register their marriage.
But the Administrative Court instead decided to refer the matter to the country’s Supreme Court.
‘The court is preparing to ask the Grand Justices to make further explanations on the case,’ an official at the Taipei High Administrative Court told AFP on Thursday.
The Administrative Court will finalize its decision on January 15 and then pass the case to the Grand Justices who have the final word in the Taiwanese legal system.
The LGBT community in Taiwan has been pushing hard for reform in recent years, with 50,000 marching in October through the streets of Taipei in support of the issue.
In October of 2003 the executive branch of the Taiwanese Government proposed legislation granting marriages and the right to adopt to same-sex couples but the measure faced opposition among cabinet members and legislators and has been stalled since.
In the meantime, LGBT couples in Taiwan have no official recognition of their relationships.
Also in the race to become the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage is Nepal.
In 2008 Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered that the Nepalese Government ensure equality for LGBT people in all areas of the law including the right to marry.
The Nepalese Government was to provide for same-sex marriage in the country’s new constitution but negotiation over the constitution broke down, resulting in the Prime Minister dissolving the country’s Constituent Assembly in May this year.
New elections were to be held in November but these have been pushed back until April or May next year and a new constitution will have to wait until after then.