Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 8 News List


Same-sex unions

According to a report in your paper, Ma Chih-kai (馬稚凱), a 25-year-old music teacher married Scott Simon, a 38-year-old Canadian in Ontario ("Taiwan-ese teacher marries his male partner in Canada," July 31, page 2). This was the province's first same-sex marriage since its government legitimized such unions. It also served as a milestone for the gay communities both in Taiwan and Canada.

By allowing same-gender couples to legally form families we can enable them to enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to all married "straight" couples -- such as automatic inheritance, hospital visitation, to make medical or healthcare decisions on behalf of one's partner and greater access to insurance and credit, among other benefits.

The draft of Taiwan's basic human rights law (人權保障基本法) -- proposed in 2001 by the Ministry of Justice -- stipulates that gays and lesbians shall be allowed to organize families and to adopt children. This will help this country avoid discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The Vatican, however, urged the world on Thursday to launch a campaign against gay marriages and gay adoptions. This is an attempt to block legal recognition of same-sex unions worldwide. Media reports also quoted US President George W. Bush as saying that marriage is "a sacred institution between a man and a woman" and that the White House is considering proposing a constitutional amendment which would ban gay marriage.

It is necessary for us to find the balance between both camps, so that each and every one of us can be treated fairly. The legalization of gay marriage without any appropriate complementary measures might cause social panic. Therefore, more discussions are absolutely needed. Hopefully, all human beings can be treated equally and justly someday.

Chang Sheng-en


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