A Taiwanese court has rejected a gay couple's appeal against a government agency for refusing to register their marriage in the latest setback for the recognition of same-sex unions on the island, activists said Friday.
Gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei and his partner filed a complaint with the Taipei High Administrative Court last year against a government agency that turned them away when they tried to register their marriage.
The court on Thursday ruled in favour of the agency, saying it did not violate the law which stipulates that "a marriage contract should be between a man and a woman".
Chi has launched multiple legal bids to seek recognition of his marriage since 1986 but all have been rejected.
"The government is outdated and makes no progress over the years. This case concerns not just me but the welfare of all homosexual people. This is unfair and I will appeal," Chi said.
Another gay couple filed a similar complaint in 2011 to an administrative court over government refusal to register their marriage but decided to drop their case last year, citing death threats as one of the reasons.
"We regret and are deeply saddened by the ruling ... which shows that Taiwan stands still after 20 years while the United States and European countries are moving to support gay marriages," Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said in a statement.
"We urge the court to face and acknowledge the importance of marital equal rights and return homosexual citizens their entitled rights to get married."
Gay and lesbian groups in Taiwan, one of Asia's more liberal societies, have been urging the government for years to make same-sex unions legal.
Last year, organisers said around 100,000 gays and lesbians and their supporters marched in Taiwan -- the largest rally of its kind in Asia -- to push for the legalisation of such unions.