About five months after supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated the historic constitutional interpretation that made Taiwan the pride of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer rights in Asia, its supporters were reminded that it was merely an interpretation and has no legal effect.
On Thursday, the High Administrative Court in Taipei dismissed a request by a same-sex couple to legalize their union — even though not allowing them to do so has been ruled unconstitutional — because there have been no amendments or new laws that provide the legal framework for such a union.
Same-sex marriage is stuck in limbo. Even if the government fails to make any amendments, same-sex couples can get married after the two-year period following the interpretation has lapsed. So it is just a matter of time, but as there is no law permitting same-sex marriages, courts can easily strike down any same-sex marriage requests made until then.
Some might wonder, why not wait out the two years? French professor Jacques Picoux committed suicide exactly one year ago on Monday, after being denied the right to make medical decisions for his long-time partner before he died of an illness.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered on Ketagalan Boulevard on Monday to observe the anniversary, shouting slogans such as: “No more regrets, we refuse to wait any longer.”
In another case, Taiwan Gender Queer Rights Advocacy Alliance secretary-general Nelson Hu’s (胡勝翔) partner of 12 years has been diagnosed with a rare form of hemangioma and could soon die.
There are likely countless cases like these — and really, does one have to repeatedly cite life-and-death situations to argue a simple human rights issue?
It is true that amending the law is not a simple matter, but a number of bills have been introduced prior to the interpretation — meaning that this is not a new matter. There is already plenty of existing material to draw on.
However, no concrete plans seem to have been made by the Executive Yuan.
Instead, according to a Central News Agency report, Premier William Lai (賴清德) earlier this month said that he has not given up drafting a proposal by the end of the year, adding that he would not delay the issue and would try his best to push it forward.
That is standard government-speak that might not mean anything.
However, he added: “Since there are still reservations against this matter in society, the Executive Yuan hopes to put forward, relatively speaking, a more appropriate proposal to solve the problem. This will take time.”
What does that even mean? Since when does societal reservations supersede the Constitution? And what is “relatively speaking, a more appropriate proposal”?
By keeping things vague, Lai will only cause people to question his sincerity.
Even though he has repeatedly voiced his support for same-sex marriage, he made some questionable comments last month by saying that male homosexual activity is the primary source of HIV/AIDS.
With people already disgruntled with the government, this only makes one further question Lai’s sincerity and even his basic knowledge.
Nevertheless, all eyes will be on him now. It would look bad for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration if the government does nothing and allows the two-year period to run out. The interpretation gave the nation’s leaders a chance to deliver on their promises and salvage their image — they should not waste it.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday last week, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) wrote: “The KMT must fall for Taiwan to improve.’ Allow me to ask the question again: Is this really true?” It matters not how many times Hsu asks the question, my answer will always be the same: “Yes, the KMT must be toppled for Taiwan to improve.” In the lengthy Facebook post, titled “What were those born in the 1980s guilty of?” Hsu harked back to the idealistic aspirations of the 2014 Sunflower movement before heaping opprobrium on the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP)
The scuffle between Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji and a Taiwanese diplomat at a Republic of China (ROC) Double Ten National Day celebration has turned into a public relations opportunity for the government, Beijing and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Although the incident occurred on Oct. 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) downplayed it, only for the story to be picked up by the foreign media, forcing the ministry to respond. The public and opposition parties asked why the government had failed to remonstrate more strongly in the first instance. It is still unclear whether the ministry missed a trick
US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former US vice president Joe Biden, are holding their final debate tonight. In their foreign policy debate, China is sure to be a major issue of contention for the two candidates. Here are several questions the moderator should pose to the candidates: For both: In the first televised US presidential debates in 1960, then-Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy and his Republican counterpart, Richard Nixon, were asked whether the US should intervene if communist China attacked Taiwan’s outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu. Kennedy said no, unless the main island of Taiwan was also attacked.
For most of us, the colorful, otherworldly marinescapes of coral reefs are as remote as the alien landscapes of the moon. We rarely, if ever, experience these underwater wonderlands for ourselves — we are, after all, air-breathing, terrestrial creatures mostly cocooned in cities. It is easy not to notice the perilous state they are in: We have lost 50 percent of coral reefs in the past 20 years and more than 90 percent are expected to die by 2050, a presentation at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego, California, earlier this year showed. As the oceans heat further and