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New Taipei City to start registering gay couples next week

New Taipei City to start registering gay couples next week

New Taipei City is Taiwan's most populous with nearly four million inhabitants.

New Taipei City will start registering gay couples next week.

The Department of Civil Affairs announced on Wednesday that gay residents of Taiwan’s most populous city could register their relationships at any of the municipality’s 18 household registration offices from Monday (1 February).

The announcement came on the same day a similar policy was unveiled in Tainan. Kaohsiung, Taipei and Taichung already have gay couple registers, and Kaohsiung and Taipei agreed to recognize couples registered in either city earlier this year.

The civil affairs department said that the city government had always attached considerable importance on LGBTI rights and relevant measures had long been deliberated. But due to New Taipei City’s large population (3,966,818), preparations were only recently completed.

Taiwanese citizens can register with just their ID cards. And foreign residents can also register with their passports and residence permits.

Taiwan does not recognize gay marriage. A gay marriage bill did pass its first reading in parliament in 2013, but has since been stalled by a small but vocal Christian minority.

However, LGBTI activists hope the island’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen, who was voted in earlier this month, will push the reform through during her term in office.