Starting this month, the city of Taichung will be implementing a non-legally-binding same-sex couple registration system which would allow homosexual partners to sign hospital consent forms for each other. Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said it could be used as a reference for the SAR.
A spokesperson for the EOC told RTHK that the system would be useful in providing some rights to people with different sexual orientations. The spokesperson also said that, as an international city which values equality, it was now the appropriate time to begin a rational and constructive discussion on homosexual marriage and relationships.
Tsai Chia-hsun, one of the first to register under Taiwan’s new system, said that – although the registration was a form of guarantee and protection – it was still a long way from the legal rights that came with marriage. He said said that the implementation of the system was more or less related to the upcoming Taiwan elections.
“The LGBTQ community… will think that they are respected and will give them their vote. The parties are also trying to portray themselves as friendly, progressive, inclusive and free, and people will with similar values will be attracted to them,” said Tsai.
Legislative Councillor Chan Chi-chuen, who is on the Advisory Group on Eliminating Discrimination against Sexual Minorities, said that he hoped Hong Kong would implement something similar to Taiwan’s system. He also said that he would propose at the Legislative Council meeting next month a motion that the government look into the implementation of civil unions.
Choi Chi-sum, secretary-general for The Society of Truth and Light and an outspoken critic of gay marriage, said that it was not necessary for there to be civil unions. Instead, he said that there could be many other methods, such as that of enduring powers of attorney, and expanding the powers of authorisation on the current electronic medical record system, to homosexual partners.