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In A First, Taiwan Recognized The Marriage Of This Same-Sex Couple From Different Countries

In a landmark ruling, Taiwan has recognized a same-sex marriage between a Taiwanese man and his partner from Macau, where same-sex marriage is illegal.

29-year-old Ting Tse-yen, a Taiwanese citizen, and 33-year-old Leong Chin-fai, a Macau national, decided to sue the government after they went to register their marriage at a household registration office on Oct. 1, 2019 but were rejected.

Taiwanese Ting Tse-yen (L) and his Macau same sex partner Leong Chin-fai (R) at the beach.

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019, but under the law, same-sex marriages will only be recognized if the couple are both from countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Taiwanese Ting Tse-yen (L) and his Macau same sex partner Leong Chin-fai (R) speak to press in front of Taipei High Administrative Court after winning the lawsuit.
Taiwanese citizen Ting Tse-yen (L) and his Macanese same-sex partner Leong Chin-fai (R) speak to press in front of Taipei High Administrative Court after winning the lawsuit. (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

The couple’s lawyer argued that as Macau’s civil law states that a citizen’s status is determined by the law of their place of residence, Taiwanese law must apply to Leong, who has been living in Taiwan since 2017, according to The New Lens.

On Thursday May 6, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in the couple’s favor and ordered the government office to revoke its decision and approve the marriage registration.

Taiwanese Ting Tse-yen (R) and his Macau same sex partner Leong Chin-fai (C) take part in a press conference in front of Taipei High Administrative Court after winning the lawsuit. The man with lawyers suit holds a sign reading  wins the lawsuit case.
Taiwanese citizen Ting Tse-yen (R) and his Macamnese same sex partner Leong Chin-fai (C) take part in a press conference in front of Taipei High Administrative Court after winning the lawsuit. The man with lawyers suit holds a sign reading wins the lawsuit case. (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

This is the first time a court in Taiwan has directly ordered the household registration office to record an international same-sex marriage, the couple’s lawyer said, AFP reported.

Taiwanese Ting Tse-yen‘s (L) and his Macau same sex partner Leong Chin-fai's (R) selfie.

The couple, who own a bakery together, welcomed the ruling.

“Today’s ruling is not the end, it’s a process and a small milestone,” Leong told AFP. “We hope in the future all international same-sex couples can register their marriages directly rather than having to go to courts.”

More on same-sex marriage in Taiwan

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