Same-sex couple gets threat before court hearing
By Joy Lee,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A man seeking official recognition for his same-sex marriage said that he received a threat on his Facebook page before a scheduled court appearance yesterday.
January 16, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Nelson Chen (陳敬學) said he received a Facebook message with degrading words and name calling. He said that he isn't worried about his own safety; he only wants to protect his partner and family.
“I am actually thinking about withdrawing the lawsuit because I don't want to see people whom I love and people who support me get hurt,” Chen said.
“However, at the same time, I still want to fight against discrimination.”
Chen and his partner Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋) had a public marriage ceremony in 2006. However, the Zhongshan District Household Registration Office in Taipei rejected their marriage registration in 2011. They filed an administrative lawsuit against the office in the same year.
According to Chen and his partner's lawyer Liu Chi-wei (劉繼蔚), the court postponed a verdict and asked Liu to turn in more information as evidence of their marriage.
Chen said that, after receiving the threat, he no longer cared about the verdict, adding that he is now more concerned about the safety of his partner and of the people who have openly supported him.
According to Chen, the court considered seeking a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices last December. However, the court is still yet to make a decision on whether same-sex couples have the right to register as married couples.
Secretary General of Awakening Foundation Shih-fang Lin (林實芳) said “this issue regarding human and gay rights requires attention from everyone. Plus, there are still people who oppose same-sex marriage as we can tell from the threat Chen received.”
Severia Lu (陸詩薇), a member of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, said that the alliance is promoting an amendment to the Civil Code regarding the right of marriage.
“We believe that everyone has the right to get married regardless of their gender or sexual orientation,” she said.
According to a survey conducted by media last year, over 50 percent of the public support an amendment to legalize same-sex marriage.
“We will work hard to improve the rights of everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Lin said. “We also hope that in the future Taiwanese society can become a more open and friendly place for everyone.”
According to Article 982 of the Civil Code, for a marriage to be valid it requires the signatures of at least two witnesses and registration with the Household Administration Bureau.