Taiwan’s parliament passed an amendment on Tuesday allowing gay couples to jointly adopt children, a move hailed by activists as “another big step forward” for marriage equality.

LGBT gay rights transgender flag
LGBT and transgender flags. File photo: Cecilie Johnsen.

Taiwan is at the vanguard of Asia’s burgeoning LGBTQ rights movement, becoming the first place in the region to legalise marriage equality in 2019.

But same-sex couples still faced restrictions, such as being unable to jointly adopt children. While individuals in Taiwan were allowed to adopt regardless of sexual orientation, those in same-sex marriages could not both be legal parents unless the child was one partner’s biological offspring.

On Tuesday — the eve of the fourth anniversary of Taiwan’s marriage equality law — parliament passed the amendment removing those restrictions, with lawmaker Fan Yun hailing the cross-party support for the bill.

The amendment “not only ensures the protection of children’s rights but also meets their best interest,” said Fan, who was draped in a rainbow flag.

“In the future, spouses and parents, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, can have full legal protection.”

taiwan executive yuan legislature parliament
Taiwan Executive Yuan. File photo: Venation, via Wikimedia Commons.

The amendment comes after a family court in southern Kaohsiung City last year ruled in favour of a married gay man seeking to share parenthood of his husband’s adoptive child — the first verdict of its kind.

“After four years of hard work, today the parliament finally passed the (bill for) adoption without blood relationship by same-sex couples,” the advocacy group Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said in a statement.

The group also hailed Taiwan’s recent recognition of transnational same-sex marriage — a move made in January by then-premier Su Tseng-chang to lift restrictions for international couples.

Previously foreigners were not allowed to wed their Taiwanese partners if they came from territories banning same-sex marriage — which is much of Asia.

But one of Su’s last acts in office was to recognise such unions — including for couples from Hong Kong and Macau, though not mainland China, which is governed under a different set of regulations in Taiwan.

Taiwan pride march lgbt gay
Taiwan pride march 2020. Photo: Tsai Ing-wen, via Twitter.

“Following the full recognition of transnational same-sex marriage in January, Taiwan has taken another big step towards marriage equality,” the alliance said of the adoption amendment.

Taiwan is home to a thriving LGBTQ community — a record 200,000 people attended a pride march in Taipei in 2019 to celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

That law came about after Taiwan’s top court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Over the next two years, at least 7,000 same-sex couples tied the knot according to 2021 data from the Interior Ministry.

The alliance said Tuesday it would continue to push for more rights for same-sex couples, including recognition of Taiwanese-Chinese marriages.

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