The Taipei High Administrative Court will start hearing a case on Tuesday (27 Mar) to decide whether a same-sex couple can register under the same household.
Chen Ching-hsueh and Kao Chih-wei have been married for nearly six years. While their marriage was formally recorded in a family pedigree last year – the first among Chinese ever, the Department of Household Registration later turned them down twice.
Denied benefits and duties that every heterosexual couple is entitled to, Chen later decided to take their case to the court.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China and the Taiwanese government asked the Department of House Registration to help each centenarian make their own family pedigree. Chen’s 102 year-old grandma was also given one.
In order to fight for equality for gays, Chen strived and managed to add Kao to his pedigree as his ‘spouse’ after much coordination with relevant authorities, making Chen and Kao the first Chinese same-sex couple ever to make it to a pedigree, a record that has much symbolic value.
According to the Taiwanese civil law, marriage between two individuals before May 2007 would immediately take effect as long as there was a public ceremony with two witnesses. Chen and Kao publicly tied the knot in September 2006.
The Department of Household Registration accepted their application for a joint household registration in August last year, but formally denied to approve it a month later.
It noted marriage is defined as ‘a monogamous conjugal union between a husband and a wife’, adding it needs further research and discussion to decide whether two men or women can form a family.
Despite pointing out to some ambiguity about the definition of man and woman in the law, Chen was rejected once again when he handed in another application.
Refusing to give in, Chen was determined to resort to the judiciary and was notified a while back that the Taipei High Administrative Court would be hearing it. Jerry Huang, a lawyer known for protecting animals, has offered on Facebook to represent the couple.