A Taiwanese and British gay couple married in Taiwan on Saturday (16 February).
Andrew Goodier and Ethan Chao Shou-Chuan celebrated their relationship with 40 family and friends at a traditional banquet in Miaoli on the country’s west coast.
Their age difference of 51 years made headlines in the country.
After a famous Taiwan writer shared the couple’s story online, more than 500 well-wishers also arrived at the venue. Local media broadcast the celebrations live online.
‘We felt very happy and very lucky to have been so well-loved and receive all the lovely messages’ Chao told Gay Star News.
Taiwan is set to become the first country in Asia for equal marriage this year. In 2017, the country’s top court ruled it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage rights. It gave lawmakers two years to legislate.
‘Looks fade, but love and commitments do not’
Goodier, 75, and Chao, 24, met in England in 2015.
Chao was supposed to be visiting a friend who shirked his hosting duties and instead arranged Goodier to look after him.
They celebrated their relationship in a local restaurant with family members and friends. Chao’s professor officiated the ceremony.
‘Age is just a number’ Chao told Gay Star News. ‘All it affects is one’s looks’.
‘Looks fade, but love and commitments do not, so it does not affect our relationship negatively at all’.
Chao said one of the reasons they were happy together was because they ‘always say nice things to each other’.
He said sharing household chores was an important part of a relationship. The pair want to also marry in England.
Beacon of liberalism
The public show of support for Chao and Goodier, especially in a conservative part of the country, is a welcome boost to LGBTI Taiwanese.
In November, Taiwan voters opted for a separate special law to recognize same-sex marriages rather than to change the country’s Civil Code.
It was a major defeat for LGBTI activists who said the separate law failed to offer genuine equality.
Chao said he still believes Taiwan is open and friendly to all tribes of people.
‘The general public probably just need a bit more time and that is totally understandable.’
‘Hopefully, one day, Taiwan will become more liberal and friendly to people that are “different”.’
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Author: Rik Glauert