A Taiwanese lesbian couple are fighting against a decision stopping them from adopting their children.
In the first case of its kind in the country, Neal Wang hopes to formally adopt the twins she co-parents with her partner of 15 years, Ashley Chou.
Chou gave birth to the children six years ago via artificial insemination – but under Taiwanese law, the unmarried partner of a birth mother is not allowed to adopt her children.
While support for the LGBTI community is growing in Taiwan, it remains illegal for same-sex couples to marry.
The couple applied for adoption in August 2014 as a ‘de facto’ married couple, but were rejected by Shihlin District Court, Taipei, yesterday.
The court said its decision was based on Taiwan’s Civil Code which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, as well as the fact that society does not yet widely approve of ‘diverse family formations’.
‘There are many objections against homosexual couples adopting children,’ the ruling said.
‘If the adoption is recognised, the young children will be placed on the front line of the issue and face pressure from the outside, which could have a negative impact on their physical and psychological developments.’
Wang announced her decision to appeal the ruling outside court yesterday.
‘I have a healthy family and the children are happy. I don’t understand what the ‘negative impact’ would be,’ she said.
‘I was there from the beginning when the kids were still eggs and I’ve taken care of them like any other parent.’
A bill to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption was drafted by Taiwan’s cabinet in 2003, but was never put to a vote. Another unsuccessful bill was sent to parliament in 2013.