United by Love: Taiwan's Step Toward Equality With LGBT Adoption Rights

After making history as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, the self-ruling island of Taiwan made another milestone in LGBTQIA+ rights when it allowed LGBTQIA+ couples to jointly adopt a child neither of them are related to, marking another first in a region where gay rights are largely repressed or ignored.

Taiwan passed a bill last May 16th giving same-sex couples the right to adopt, effectively clearing a hurdle to marriage equality in the East Asian country. It was passed after the country banned conversion therapy in 2018 and legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, making it the most progressive country for gay rights in Asia-Pacific.

Fan Yun, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who was among those that initiated the legal change, celebrated the passage of the bill and said she was “very excited that we granted joint adoption rights to same-sex couples today.

Legally, we have finally returned same-sex couples to their children,” Fan Yun added. “Parental love is the same, and only through joint adoption can we protect the rights and interests of each other by law.

The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, a group that advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights in the country, also celebrated the legal change and described it as a significant change towards achieving full marriage equality.

Today’s success shows that the consensus in Taiwan is to protect the human rights of LGBTI peoples and promote gender equality,” the group said in a statement.

But the alliance added that the fight is still not over, as LGBTQIA+ couples in Taiwan are still fighting for assisted reproduction and recognition of cross-strait, same-sex relationships, meaning one is from Taiwan while the other is from Mainland China, which claims the island as its territory and doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

Taiwan has been known for its openness to LGBTQIA+ rights and identities, unique in a region where the topic is still considered taboo. Homosexuality was never banned in the island nation, and it announced in 2021 that it would host the WorldPride in 2025, becoming the first country in East Asia to do so.

While Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, it stopped short of granting same-sex couples full marriage equality. Before same-sex adoption was legalized, many Taiwanese same-sex couples spent their time challenging the discrimination in court. One landmark case was in Kaohsiung last January 2023, when a male couple successfully challenged the ban after the court ruled that adoption was in the child’s best interest.

Taiwan also legalized same-sex marriage between a Taiwanese citizen and a foreign spouse. However, this new change did not include couples with partners from Mainland China.

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