Same-sex marriage should be legal throughout China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 5:46pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Alex Lo’s column (“Here’s why same-sex marriages are a good thing”, May 26) and am thrilled that Taiwan’s constitutional court has paved the way for same-sex marriage.

As I have pointed out in previous letters to these columns, my wife and I will eventually have to grapple with the fact that our marriage in the United States will be recognised in Taiwan – where she has extended family – but not in Hong Kong, my place of birth.

This throws a bit of a wrench into our plans to live in Hong Kong for several years when we have children, so that my parents may get to know their grandchildren. Much like the Hong Kong civil servant in Lo’s column, my wife and I only want to “form a family”, one that is no threat to anyone in a heterosexual relationship.

The Hong Kong government should applaud and encourage potential family reunifications, not throw obstacles in the way.

On a broader note, it may be worth examining the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges case for the long-term ramifications of the Taiwanese court ruling.

Part of the impetus driving Obergefell was the bizarre legal situation created by earlier rulings in the country, which led to same-sex marriage being legal in some states but not others. Obergefell ensured that the marriages of American citizens would be legal regardless of their location in the country.

If Beijing truly believes in the one-China policy, it will eventually have to grapple with the fact that it cannot invalidate same-sex marriages performed in Taiwan without causing social upheaval and widespread censure. A right once granted cannot be easily taken away.

The prospect of the Chinese government retroactively destroying Taiwanese same-sex marriages and leaving the legal status of children in those families in doubt should be cause for consternation among Chinese leaders who value continued political stability.

There is only one logical solution. Same-sex marriage needs to be legalised throughout China.

Cynthia Yeung, Oakland, California, US