Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A comparative study of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan

Tse-Shang Denise TANG, Diana KHOR, Yi-chien CHEN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships and marriages has been at the forefront of media attention in East Asian societies. For our comparative study, we carried out qualitative in-depth interviews with 31 gay men and lesbians to investigate the nuanced understanding of marriage, family and sexual citizenship within the context of debates on marriage equality across Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Expanding on the theoretical concepts in Chen’s ‘Asia as method’, Iwabuchi’s ‘inter-Asian referencing’ and Yue and Leung’s ‘queer Asia as method’, we aim to understand how the act of marriage is defined, conducted and rationalized amidst a web of social relations within each research locale. We argue that despite the variations in the structure and practice of kin relations, same-sex unions cannot be detached from the kinship institution in the three research sites. Our study points to a different perspective on same-sex marriage that goes beyond the binary of assimilation to/dismantling of the heterosexual marriage institution by attending to the structural and symbolic significance of the family and community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number003802611985822
Pages (from-to)192-208
Number of pages17
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Asia
  • family and kinship
  • gay and lesbian
  • heteronormativity
  • queer kinship
  • same-sex marriage


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