Chou Shu-chi and Wang Shu-yi – a lesbian couple in Taiwan are petitioning the local courts to rectify laws which currently bar one of the women from claiming two of their children as her own.
The couple, who have known each other since they were university students and have been together for 15 years, decided four years ago to start a family in Canada. After artificially insemination, Chou gave birth to two children, a girl and a boy.
Upon their return to Taiwan, the couple learned that Wang is legally barred from custody of the children she raised and has considered her own since their conception. Taiwan laws forbid and do not recognize marriage between same-sex couples. Therefore the children are technically under the custody of only their living biological mother. Also the laws do not prevent gay singles from adopting children. The couple hope to rectify this, by submitting their case to the Shilin District Court.
The two children are now three years old and are recognized by the couple’s parents, family members and friends as their children, but only Chou is registered as their legal parent in accordance with Taiwan laws.
Wang has expressed her concerns that in the event that something happened to Chou, her children will be taken away, nor would they be able to inherit her assets when she passes away.
Wang hopes to certify her parenthood by applying through court in what would be a landmark case for Taiwan’s custody laws.
A spokesperson for the Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said that Wang has already built up strong family ties with the children, but will have to go the route of adoption if she wants to earn legal custody.