Asia Pacific

Taipei mass weddings will include gay couples this year

A government official in Taipei has promised to do his best to include gay couples in this year's edition of the city's mass weddings.

The vow was made on Friday, March 6, 2015, by Xu Li-min, secretary of Taipei city's bureau of social affairs and gender equality office, at a public gender forum at National Taiwan University.

Li-min said he would need to discuss with other departments whether gay couples would marry alongside straight couples or separately, but either way, he hoped to bring about 'symbolic' ceremonies for gay couples this year.

He also promised to raise LGBT issues with his superiors and start offering benefits to gay residents.

For many years now, Taipei has held mass weddings, but previously were only open to 'men and women complying with the requirements of civil law marriage'.

Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner, Lan Shih-tsung, who is responsible for the mass weddings, said to the best of his knowledge, no gay couples had ever participated.

Chien Chih-chieh, the secretary-general of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, said she hoped that the Taipei city government would implement real marriage equality, and not write another 'blank check.'

"This is not news," she told the Liberty Times.

She added that a public gay marriage was held as far back as 1996 and was attended by the then-mayor of Taiwan's second city, Kaohsiung.

"Gay people are also citizens of Taipei. I do not understand why you need to hold a separate gay mass wedding," she said. In her opinion, gay people do need to be 'specialized'.

Taipei will hold two mass weddings this year in May and October. Each ceremony has a quota of 100 couples.

Chieh said the Alliance would register when applications open later this month.

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