Taiwan’s legislature approved an amendment to the special law for same-sex marriage, permitting same-sex couples to jointly adopt children regardless of blood relations. Before the change, same-sex couples were only allowed to adopt children who are biologically related to either party in the union.

Legislators said the amendment protects the rights of same-sex couples and their children. Advocacy groups thanked the legislators for the effort and said that they would continue to raise awareness of issues related to same-sex couples, including assisted reproduction, in the future.

The move came after the Cabinet recognized transnational same-sex couples in which one of the partners is from a country which doesn’t allow same-sex marriage. Following these policy changes, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, a local NGO, said it had more confidence now that the government would bring Taiwan closer to the goal of gender equality.

On May 17, 2019, the Legislative Yuan passed the Act for Implementation of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, which legalized same-sex marriage in Taiwan. But when it comes to adoption rights, the Article 20 of the law states that in cases where “one party to the [same sex union] adopts the genetic child of the other party,” the provisions concerning adoption in the Civil Code apply. This rule forced some same-sex spouses with children to become single parents by law.

The updated version of Article 20 states that the Civil Code’s adoption provisions will apply in cases where “one party to the [same sex union] adopts the child of the other party, or where the couple jointly adopts a child.”

立院三讀 同婚專法納共同收養子女規定

Photo Credit: CNA

Legislators celebrate the passing of the amendment in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, May 15, 2023.

Legislator of the governing Democratic Progressive Party Fan Yun pointed out that she was glad it was her version that passed through the examination and negotiations in the legislature. She extended her special thanks to the Taiwan Equality Campaign, the Taiwan LGBTQ Family Rights Advocacy, the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, and other groups for continuously engaging in social dialogues and lobbying activities.

Fan said that expanding adoption rights to same-sex couples not only protects children’s rights but aligns with the best interests of the children of these families. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, couples can receive complete legal protection as parents of their children.

DPP legislator Hung Sun-han pointed out that in the past same-sex couples couldn’t adopt the child that one of the parties had previously adopted while single, nor could they adopt jointly. Once the party with parental rights passes away, the child would need to be adopted or resettled again, severely violating the child’s rights.

New Power Party legislator Wang Wan-yu said marital status shouldn’t be a factor in deciding who’s the person in the best place to take care of a child, and the willingness of the child should also be taken into consideration.

Everyone now can finally realize their dream of building a family without going through lengthy judicial proceedings to prove their relationship with their children. Those who were previously legally strangers now have the opportunity to become a family, she said.

This article originally appeared in The News Lens Chinese edition. Translation is by Edward Ying-jen Lin.

TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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