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March 28, 2017

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Same-sex couple withdraws recognition suit

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A same-sex couple announced their decision yesterday to withdraw their lawsuit for official recognition of their marriage.

Nelson Chen (陳敬學) and Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋), who filed an administrative lawsuit in 2011, took bowed as a show of respect to supporters who have helped them during their fight.

"I am very disappointed at all related ministries and the court because no one is willing to take the responsibility to make a decision on legalizing same-sex marriage," Chen said.

According to Chen, the Taipei High Administrative Court postponed a verdict last December and planned to seek a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices.

Chen said, however, that the court demanded more information regarding constitutional interpretation this January from the newly added defendants, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice.

"All the court did was to make the ministries responsible for constitutional interpretation," Chen said.

The general-secretary of Taiwan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Family Rights Advocacy, Wu Shao-wen (吳紹文), said that he respected the couple's decision to withdraw their case, but he also felt it is unfortunate that they decided to do so.

"People cannot imagine how difficult it is for them to fight for their marriage rights, especially in an environment that is not friendly to homosexual people," Wu said.

Chen received a Facebook message with degrading words and name-calling before a court hearing this January. He had been thinking about withdrawing the case for the safety of his partner, family, and people who openly supported him and his partner.

Chen and Kao 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 that same year.

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