Taiwan lesbian fights court over baby rights

  • ASEAN+
  • Friday, 13 Mar 2015

Supporters of a local gay group display placards that read "how much longer for gay couple to wait" outside the Shihlin district court in Taipei on March 13, 2015. Neal Wang (3rd-R), a gay activist, said she was appealing a court ruling against her request to adopt her partner's children in the first case of its kind on the island. AFP PHOTO

TAIPEI, March 13, 2015 (AFP) - A lesbian in Taiwan who was told that she could not adopt the children she parents with her partner because it would have a “negative impact” on them will appeal the landmark case, she said Friday.

It is the first time that a lesbian has tried to adopt children her partner had through artificial insemination and comes as public support grows for gay rights and same-sex marriage in Taiwan, one of Asia’s more liberal societies.

Neal Wang, 36, wanted to formally adopt the children that she and her partner of 15 years planned together and now co-parent. Wang’s partner, Ashley Chou, gave birth to their twins -- one boy, one girl -- who are now three.

Under Taiwanese law, the unmarried partner of a birth mother is not allowed to adopt their child -- but the couple had applied as a “de facto” married couple, saying that they want to wed but are barred as same-sex marriages are illegal.

The court ruled against the adoption in February, citing potential “negative impact” on the children, despite an evaluation from a child welfare group finding Wang fit as an adoptive parent.

“I have a healthy family and the children are happy. I don’t understand what the‘negative impact’ would be,” Wang told reporters outside the Shihlin district court on Friday, as the couple announced their appeal bid.

“I was there from the beginning when the kids were still eggs and I’ve taken care of them like any other parent.”

The court ruling on Wang’s application also cited a lack of “consensus” on legalising same-sex marriages.

“There are many objections against homosexual couples adopting children,“ the ruling said.

“If the adoption is recognised, the young children will be placed on the front line of the issue and face pressure from the outside, which could have a negative impact on their physical and psychological developments.”

Taiwan holds one of Asia’s biggest annual gay pride parades and its cabinet drafted a bill in 2003 to legalise same-sex marriages and recognise the rights of homosexual couples to adopt children -- the first in Asia to do so.

But the bill was never put to a vote due to lack of consensus among lawmakers.

Another bill to recognise same-sex marriage was sent to parliament in 2013, but advocacy groups say there has been no progress.

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Taiwan , justice , gay , rights , regional


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