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Veteran activist takes Taiwan to court over gay marriage

Veteran activist takes Taiwan to court over gay marriage

A longtime gay rights activist has started a new fight with the Taiwanese government, after it refused to register his marriage.

Qi Jia-wei asked the Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday (8 October) to overturn the decision that prevented him from marrying his ‘friend’ in March.

The 55-year-old, described as the ‘Father of Same-sex Marriage Litigation’, also requested the court to allow people of the same-sex to tie the knot, in accordance with the constitution.

Qi said he is picking up the fight where Nelson Chen and Kao Chih-wei, another gay couple, left behind amid intense pressure earlier this year.

‘With the current turn of tide worldwide, there is no longer any ground to evade same-sex marriage,’ Qi said, noting it is simply ‘normal people doing the right thing.’

Taiwan has already seen two legal same-sex marriages between women over the years, he said.

In the first court hearing, Qi cited intelligence sources as saying international pressure is the main reason behind Taipei’s refusal to embrace gay marriage.

The United States have told Taiwan’s National Security Bureau not to approve of same-sex marriage before all US states do so, otherwise arms sale could be affected, Qi claimed.

He also alleged Beijing opposes same-sex marriage in Taiwan for fear of conflicting nuptial rules in case of future reunification, while the Vatican – with Christian teachings in mind – threatens to severe its diplomatic tie with Taiwan and turn to China instead.

Judges hearing the case should not have religious belief, Qi maintained.

A colorful if not somewhat eccentric character, Qi claimed to have chosen to be gay at high school, because historical heroes were nearly all men.

He has also begged in the street to fund his HIV and AIDS campaign, after piling up a personal debt of over NTD 2 million ($67,985, €50,316) for the cause.

Qi sought to establish a gay rights group as early as in 1985 and first petitioned the Legislative Yuan to give the nod to gay marriage in the following year, when Taiwan’s martial law was still in place.

For the past three decades, he has repeatedly confronted all three branches of government, asking the Chief Justice to interpret the constitution at least once.

Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said it is time the Taipei City government and mayor Hau Lung-pin acted on their avowed support for gay rights and said yes to gay marriage.