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Taipei to include gay couples in mass weddings this year

Taipei to include gay couples in mass weddings this year

A Taipei government official has promised to do his utmost to include gay couples in the city’s mass weddings.

Xu Li-min, secretary of Taipei city’s bureau of social affairs and gender equality office, made the vow on Friday (6 March) at a public gender forum at National Taiwan University.

He said he would need to discuss with other departments whether gay couples would marry alongside straight couples or separately, but either way he hoped to bring about ‘symbolic’ ceremonies for gay couples this year.

Xu also promised to raise LGBTI issues with his superiors and start offering benefits to gay residents.

Taipei has held mass weddings for many years but previously were only open to ‘men and women complying with the requirements of civil law marriage.’

Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner Lan Shih-tsung, who is responsible for the mass weddings, said no gay couples had, in his memory, ever participated.

Chien Chih-chieh, secretary-general of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, said she hoped that the Taipei city government would implement real marriage equality, and not write another ‘blank check.’

‘This is not news,’ she told the Liberty Times.

Chieh said a public gay marriage was held as far back as 1996 and the then-mayor of Taiwan’s second city Kaohsiung had attended.

‘Gay people are also citizens of Taipei. I do not understand why you need to hold a separate gay mass wedding,’ she said.

Gay people do need to be ‘specialized,’ she added.

Taipei will hold two mass weddings this year in May and October. Each ceremony has a quota of 100 couples.

Chieh said the Alliance would register when applications open later this month.