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Taiwan accepts same-sex marriage, so why not adopt it?

Taiwan, Kaohsiung (CNN)Wang Chen-wei and Chen Jun-ru are unique among parents inTaiwan

This year, in a groundbreaking lawsuit, two men became the first same-sex couple on the island to legally adopt an unrelated child. rice field.

Now they are living a family dream with her daughter Joujou (4) in a city in the southern part of Kaohsiung, in an apartment decorated with rainbow flags and family photos. Still, their family life is happy, but their fierce court victory is bittersweet.

With the exception of couples, the law they disputed remains in the statutory and continues to limit the civil liberties of other same-sex couples. With regard to LGBTQ rights

, it is one of the most progressive jurisdictions in Asia. “I can't be happy with the victory because many of my friends are still facing a lot of difficulties,” Chen said. , 35. "Even after same-sex marriage was legalized, we were not welcome to bring our children together as a family. We were treated like second-class citizens," the king added. I did.

Taiwan became the first jurisdiction in the region where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2019, but legislative changes give gay couples full rights to adoption Did not reach.

It is allowed for heterosexual couples, and all sexually oriented singles, to adopt biologically unrelated children, but not for same-sex couples. Created a strange loophole that there isn't. To date, Wang and Chen continue to be the only such same-sex couples on the island.

Progressive reputation stains

Activists say this loophole is ahead of the island, even though Taiwan has made progress in recognizing LGBTQ rights. Same-sex couples have true equality, which shows that there is a long way to go.

Adoption loopholes aren't the only issues remaining from 2019. Due to the revision of the law, it was not possible to completely allow international marriage of the same sex. Foreign spouses are only allowed if same-sex marriage is legal in the jurisdiction of their home country.

Taiwan's independent lawmaker Freddy Lim, who defends LGBTQ rights, said that when the law was amended, society was still "faced with a lot of opposition from anti-LGBTQ groups." Said that occurred. As such, the government "focused only on the legalization of marriage, not on the rights associated with adoption of children."

However, Lim believes that since then, his attitude has changed enough to change the law again. In May, Lim and his bipartisan parliamentary group proposed renewing the bill with a bill that they hope to pass by the end of the year.

"If society treats people differently based on their sexual orientation, there must be strong reasons from the public interest, but since there is nothing, it is clearly a form of discrimination. There is, "Rim said.

From despair to miracles

No change will come soon for King and Chen, who want to escape the challenges faced by their friends.

Southern Taiwan teachers Wang and Chen have been dating for over a decade when they started the adoption process in 2016. The king filed an application in his name and the court confirmed his aptitude in 2019-following a rigorous check by social workers on both men.

Everything seemed to be set for a happy family life.

"When same-sex marriage was legalized (a year later), we had the hope of raising children together," Chen recalled.

However, Chen was told that she could not register as a legitimate parent of the girl, even if the pair got married. It was heartbreaking for Chen, who was unable to fulfill her parents' obligations, such as signing her daughter's school and bank documents, which most families take for granted.

"Every time I applied for her daughter, I was scared to be asked about my relationship with her daughter. I was always her father, but I wasn't recognized as her parent." Said Chen. ..

Last April, Wang and Chen, along with two other couples, submitted a petition to the Kaohsiung Family Court. They expected the case to be dismissed-then they thought they could appeal to the Taiwanese Supreme Court and eventually force a change in the law.

But, surprisingly, in January the family court ruled in favor of them because it was in Joujou's best interests to have both legitimate parents. The other two cases were rejected.

"I was surprised, it was a miracle," Chen said. "Until then, I lived with my daughter, but under the law I had nothing to do with her."

The King said the ruling was important for two reasons. It made it easier for couples to take care of their daughters and gave hope to other couples like them.

"I'm relieved now," said Mr. I. "We can act as legal parents and share the burden. And if Kamijo gets sick and has to visit a doctor, we both take a legal vacation. Eligible to take care of her. "

Difficult Battle

The decision of the Family Court in question extends only to King and Chen. Other same-sex couples in Taiwan still face difficult struggles.

An American woman, Jordan, is fighting to register as the adopted mother of her wife in Taiwan. She met her wife Ray six years ago, and Ray began her adoption process in 2018. Before the couple got married.

The couple asked CNN not to disclose their full name to protect them for seven years. old woman.

"Initially, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to be a parent at that time, so my wife was the only one to adopt," Jordan said. The month her daughter returned home, she and I had a very close relationship.

Last April, Jordan submitted her petition to the family court at the same time as King and Chen d. id. However, her proceeding was dismissed.

"We want equal protection under the law," she said. "If something happens to my wife, she has an autoimmune disease andCovidis approaching. Not only does my daughter lose her mother, but I also lose her because she is taken away. I am not allowed to adopt her. "

"We are a family, but it still feels like a complete family. It is important that we are treated exactly the same when it comes to the rights given to heterosexuals." She added.

Jordan said Taiwan's progressive reputation was boosted by the legalization of same-sex marriage, but more effort was needed to ensure equality for LGBTQ couples.

"Many people, even here in Taiwan, are unaware that we do not yet have perfect equality," she said.

"It couldn't celebrate as much as we wanted."

Still, activists say there are optimistic reasons.

Joyce Ten, Deputy Managing Director of the Taiwan Equality Campaign, said that society has had "a higher level of acceptance and support" since same-sex marriage was legalized three years ago. rice field.

The latest annual survey released last month found that 67% of Taiwanese support LGBTQ couples for adoption. This is an 8% increase from a year ago.

The King said he hoped the law would be amended as soon as possible so that other couples could enjoy the same rights as him and Chen.

"Many families are afraid to file a petition in court because they don't want to get the attention of society or the media," Wang said. "If the law doesn't change, many may be afraid to defend their rights."

Taiwan is not only an enlightened jurisdiction over LGBTQ rights, It also has a reputation for thinking about its image as a free and democratic beacon in the Asia-Pacific region.

"When the international community sees Taiwan, we are often seen as the first line of defense against authoritarianism," said Congressman Lim.

"But in order for us to truly portray ourselves as free, equal and democratic, we need to recognize and resolve social injustices. LGBTQ rights are this. This is an important part of. "