The lawmakers in Taiwan are presently working on three Civil Code marriage equality amendment proposals in support of marriage equality, that could soon make Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Taipei Times wrote in its editorial that Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Mei-ling said that Premier Lin Chuan has urged the Ministry of Justice to take action and has stated support for legalizing same-sex marriage.
This is in response to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pasuya Yao’s question on Monday (7 Nov) regarding the government’s stance on three Civil Code marriage equality amendment proposals,
There are three proposed amendments to the Civil Code. The first comes from the New Power Party, which asked for changes to the family relations section of the code, in addition to revisions of the Family Act. The second was a motion supported by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu regarding parts of the code related to family relations and inheritance. The third was submitted by DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu.
Although national recognition of same-sex partnerships requires a revision to the codes, there are already 11 cities and counties – the six special municipalities, Chiayi City, Yilan, Hsinchu, Changhua, and Chiayi counties – that recognize same-sex partnerships in their household registration systems.
President Tsai Ing-wen has also publicly supported same-sex marriage in the past, including at the Taiwan LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Pride Parade last year.
The legalization of same-sex marriage and marriage equality are controversial issues in which the government of a democratic nation should represent all voices.
Many remain opposed to the idea, notably among Christian groups, but it is difficult to argue with the fact that Taiwanese society is becoming increasingly supportive of marriage equality.
In 2013, a poll by the Policy Research Association showed that 53.7 percent of respondents agreed that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Two years later, a Ministry of Justice poll revealed that 71 percent of respondents supported a same-sex marriage act.
According to reports, more than 50,000 people attended the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade in 2012, rising to 70,000 in 2014 and 80,000 last year.
It is seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s democracy acceptance for multi-party and other inclusive attitudes, although the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people mostly follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation or gay marriage may be the big reason.
Jens Damm, associate Professor in the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Studies at Chang Jung University in Taiwan, said that gay and lesbian relationships began to find wide acceptance in the 1990s, aided by the already well-established feminist movement.
“The elite became in favor of a kind of gender equality,” Damm said.
Taiwan would join Canada, Colombia, Ireland, the United States and 16 other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage over the past 15 years, according to Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group based in the Washington, DC, ABC News reported.
Yu Mei-nu, a ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker who is sponsoring the same-sex marriage bill said, “If Taiwan can get this passed … it will give other Asian countries a model.”
“It’s a big step forward for the history of human rights,” Ms Yu said.
While practical issues such as sharing assets and medical benefits are motivating factors, mainly love and respect are also a strong impetus, said Jay Lin, founder and director of the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival.
However, as legalization coming closer, opposition to same-sex marriage is hardening among fundamentalist churches and conservative politicians, including some members of the main opposition Nationalist Party’s Central Standing Committee.
Legalizing same-sex marriages would burden Taiwan’s welfare system and be tough on children, said Chen Chih-hung, chairman of the political party Faith And Hope League.
“The death of a same-sex spouse would leave the survivor dependent on government support as many couples would not have children to support them in old age, and children of such couples would find it difficult to socialize with children from more mainstream families,” he said.
Taipei Times had also reported that on 7 November, more than a dozen parents gathered outside a Legislative Yuan side gate with members of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association and other groups, shouting slogans calling for ‘marriage equality’ to protect families.
“The government should legalize same sex marriage as quickly as possible so homosexuals can have families and plan for children if they want them,” a woman surnamed Lin said.
“If they do not have families and children, who will they be able to rely on when they grow old?”
The protesters and parents later had met with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus representatives.
Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association research associate, Lu Hsin-chieh, had said that they hope to persuade KMT legislators to allow related bills to be quickly referred to the Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.
Attribution from media sources