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This gay couple’s 12-year wait to get married is nearly over

This gay couple’s 12-year wait to get married is nearly over

Marc and Shane from Taiwan will be one of the first couples to get legally married in Asia (Photo: Instagram)

Marc and Shane met in sports class at college.

The teacher assigned the pair to work together. The first task was recording each other’s heartbeat.

‘It was really romantic’ Shane told Gay Star News. ‘I stared at his eyelashes and cute dimples’.

The pair, who are 29 and 31, now live in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei.

Last year, Marc proposed to Shane at the concert of one of his favorite singers.

The pair are planning to register their marriage in downtown Taipei on the morning of 24 May.

They could, therefore, become one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in Asia.

 

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A Constitutional Court ruling in 2017 means Taiwan will legalize same-sex marriage on that day.

‘We feel really proud and glorious’ Shane told Gay Star News. ‘We never expected that we would have our own wedding anniversary’.

The pair admitted they were nervous. ‘But we’re so very touched and elated that we can get married to someone who we’re in love with.’

‘He gives me a feeling of being at home’ said Shane. ’That’s why I’d like to spend the rest of my life together with him.’

 

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First in Asia

Taiwan’s government has arranged to register same-sex marriages from 24 May in line with a Constitutional Court ruling.

In May 2017, the court ruled the Civil Code was unconstitutional for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples. It gave a two-year deadline to legislate equality.

Parliament plans to pass a bill ahead of the deadline. But, if it fails to do so, same-sex marriage will be law by default.

Although Taiwan is one of the most progressive places in Asia, it has had a bumpy road to equality.

Referendums in November last year found Taiwanese people preferred a separate law for same-sex marriage rather than amending the civil code from ‘a man and a woman’ to ’two people’.

It was a devastating loss for LGBTI Taiwanese.

‘Taiwan society is not conservative about most things,’ explained Marc. ‘But it is manipulated by some people with bad intentions’.

 

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LGBTI rights activists blamed well-funded conservative, mainly Christian, groups for spreading misinformation in the run-up to the referendum.

‘We are always proud of Taiwan’ Shane said. ‘Taiwan is going to become a country which practices equal human rights for the LGBTI community’.

Benson Lee of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan echoed the pair’s sentiments.

‘I’m looking forward to seeing the first same-sex marriage in Asia, and show to the world that Taiwan has our proudly own democratic constitution and diversity values in Asia’.

Uncertain wedding day

But, for couples like Shane and Marc, there is still uncertainty surrounding the wedding day.

Parliament is currently considering two same-sex union bills. One affords more rights than the other.

If parliament fails to pass the law before the court deadline, same-sex marriage will be legal by default.

Administrations would, therefore, probably register couples in exactly the same way as opposite-sex couples in line with the 2017 ruling.

Lee told Gay Star News his group had been working with a local district office to register marriages.

‘We think they are prepared, but the system hasn’t been applied yet’ he explained.

‘So the only thing we can do is cross our fingers’ he said.

But, while registrations may afford marriage rights, it is unclear where same-sex couples would stand in other areas of the law such as family and adoption.

The uncertainty does not bother Shane and Marc.

‘If the bill is not passed, we will get married under the Civil Code instead’ they said.

See also

Major businesses back equal marriage in Taiwan

LGBTI couples in Taiwan to celebrate marriage equality with massive banquet

Equal marriage still up in the air as Taiwan mulls new law