Chen Jing-hsueh (second from left) and Gao Jhih-wei and their mothers
posing with the family tree of Chen's family with the couple included.
Last week, Fridae reported that Chen Jing-hsueh and Gao Jhih-wei decided to take legal action after their appeal to the Taipei City Government to have their marriage registered at the Taipei City Zhongshan District Household Registration Office last year was unsuccessful.
The couple had already held a public wedding ceremony in 2006 to celebrate their marriage.
They filed a lawsuit in August 2011 and named the Taipei City Zhongshan District Household Registration Office as the defendant in the court case. The case was first heard on 27 March 2012 during which an officer representing the Household Registration Office denied having made any mistake in rejecting the couple’s application.
Chen, Gao and their respective mothers appeared in court for the first time on April 10 for a preparatory session.
When asked by judge Chen Xin Hong (陳心弘) for the basis for the couple's rights, Chen's lawyer Jerry Kuo-Cheng Huang (黃國城) told the court that the constitution protects the right to freedom to marry.
Throughout the court session the couple held hands but did not present any statements. They gave a thank-you speech, thanking their families and all who showed concern for the case, and the judges. They vowed to "live on happily".
The judge asked that they control their emotions in court, but added: "Happiness and bliss should happen in homes/families, whereas here in the court of law, I too wish to give your marriage my highest respects, and wish you will continue to enjoy that happiness." He then announced the courts will commence open hearing on 15 May.
Chen's mother said in a TV interview that she had struggled for 10 years after learning that her son was gay. "It was heartbreaking and painful at the beginning, but now I have overcome these feelings and I'm happy to have a daughter-in-law, or a new son."
Echoing Chen's mother, Kao's mother said she decided to stand up to help gay people gain their rights.
Gao's mother said, although her son has been married five years, neighbours and relatives still do not know. She added: "Seeing your own child being prejudiced by soociety, and living a difficult life, today Chen stands up to demand protection for the rights of Gao, and he has put in a lot of effort in this fight. This is my own child, and I must step forward to support him, and give him my blessings."