39916301771Taipei: A court in Taiwan has rejected a gay couple’s appeal against a government agency for refusing to register their marriage, which gay rights activists say is a major setback for equal rights.

Chi Chia-wei and his partner filed a complaint with the Taipei High Administrative Court last year against a government agency that turned them away when they tried to register their marriage.

The court March 27 ruled in favor of the agency, saying it did not violate the law which stipulates that “a marriage contract should be between a man and a woman,” said an AFP report appearing in manilatimes.net.

Chi has launched multiple legal bids to seek recognition of his marriage since 1986 but all have been rejected, the report said.

“The government is outdated and makes no progress over the years. This case concerns not just me but the welfare of all homosexual people. This is unfair and I will appeal,” Chi told AFP.

Another gay couple filed a similar complaint in 2011 to an administrative court over government refusal to register their marriage but decided to drop their case last year, citing death threats as one of the reasons.

“We regret and are deeply saddened by the ruling . . . which shows that Taiwan stands still after 20 years while the United States and European countries are moving to support gay marriages,” Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said in a statement that appeared in the AFP report.

“We urge the court to face and acknowledge the importance of marital equal rights and return homosexual citizens their entitled rights to get married.”

Gay and lesbian groups in Taiwan, one of Asia’s more liberal societies, have been urging the government for years to make same-sex unions legal.

Last year, organizers said around 100,000 gays and lesbians and their supporters marched in Taiwan—the largest rally of its kind in Asia—to push for the legalization of such unions.

In Taiwan same-sex relations is legal, although the Taiwanese face a lot of the same roadblocks felt elsewhere in Asia. Legislation aimed to legalize marriage among same-sex couples was proposed in 2003 but the bill received opposition and was not voted on.

Source: manilatimes.net