Gays and lesbians in the Taiwanese city of Taichung have become the first to be able to formalize their relationship in some way after the local government introduced a relationship registration system for them.
Starting this month people in same-sex couples will be able to register as couples with the city, giving them the ability to sign consent forms for their partners when they go into hospital.
While non-legally binding, the scheme is the first time same-sex couples in Taiwan can record their relationships as there is no form of civil partnership available to them yet.
One of the first people to register under the scheme told HKFP that while the scheme was no substitute for being able to marry, it was an example of Taiwanese politician starting to court the gay vote.
‘The LGBTQ community … will think that they are respected and will give them their vote,’ Tsai Chia-hsun told HKFP.
‘The parties are also trying to portray themselves as friendly, progressive, inclusive and free, and people with similar values will be attracted to them.’
Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan with a population of nearly three million people and is often nicknamed the Cultural City for its collection of museums, temples, galleries and other cultural centers.