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Session C3
Legalizing LGBT Parenting in Taiwan: A Bumpy Road Ahead
官曉薇 Hsiao-Wei Kuan
Department of Law, National Taipei University, Taiwan

Taiwan, as the most LGBT friendly Asian Country, has witnessed its almost successful marriage equality movement in the Legislature in the end of 2016. The 2016 legislative movement is distinctive from the past ones in a few ways: powerful mass movement, more LGBT groups involved, and opponents’ willingness to give in to conferring a partnership status to same sex couples. But most importantly, more LGBT families came out of the closet to participate in the movement, telling their stories in front of media and in the public hearings during the legislative review. Early phase of marriage equality movement in Taiwan focused more on the recognition of the relationship between partners; when LGBT groups found that the recognition of partnership had gained widely public acceptance, some of the groups moved forward onto the advocacy of legal recognition of LGBT parenthood. The marriage equality soon reached its momentum when the Constitutional Court (the Court) made the landmark decision, the Interpretation No. 748, in May of 2017. The Court ruled the current civil law which denies two persons of the same sex the equal right to marry violates both their equality and the constitutional right to marry. The decision mandates the Legislature to legalize same sex marriage in two years, shifting the responsibility from judiciary back to the legislative power.


When giving same sex couples equal access to marriage becomes a constitutional mandate, the hard part of the legislation will be on the issue of LGBT parenthood.  Can same sex couples adopt children? Can same sex couples reproduce their own child through insemination or surrogacy? These questions following the legalization of same sex marriage are paramount challenges to Taiwan’s society because they touch the core moral value in Taiwan. The traditional values in Taiwan posit the continuation of the family line as the utmost function of a family. The poll has shown that the acceptance of LGBT adoption or LGBT parenting is not as high as same sex marriage. The coming battle in the legislature will certainly be fierce between marriage equality supporters and opponents. This paper will examine the emergence and development of the LGBT movement in Taiwan which purports to advance legal protection of the LGBT families. The main research concerns will be focused on (1) how the current law discriminates these families; (2) how the LGBT movement strives to advocate for the LGBT family’s legal protection; and (3) what challenges the movement has faced and will continue to be the problems in the future legislative movement.