Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Vote to give same-sex marriages equal status

By Wong Ting-wa 黃定華

There is less than one month to go before the nationwide elections and referendums scheduled for Nov. 24. Among the referendums to be held on that day, the most attention has been given to those concerning same-sex marriage.

Some organizations that support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples have proposed a referendum that asks: “Do you agree that the right of same-sex couples to get married should be guaranteed by the regulations contained in the Civil Code?”

In contrast, groups opposed to same-sex marriage, including the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance and the Family Guardian Coalition, have proposed two referendums related to this issue, which ask: “Do you agree that the regulations of the Civil Code should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman?” and “Do you agree with using means other than the Civil Code to protect the rights of same-sex couples to permanently manage their lives in common?”

To put it simply, the issue at stake is whether same-sex marriages should be implemented under the Civil Code or by a single-issue law.

As a student majoring in social work, I believe that a diverse society, among other things, is one that accepts homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

The right to marriage should apply to everyone, so equality can only achieved by amending the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage. Such an amendment would also make Taiwan’s democratic society more diverse.

In contrast, the “family guardian” referendum proposals only call for drawing up a separate law, while maintaining the existing terms of the Civil Code that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

In that case, same-sex marriages would definitely not have an equal status with heterosexual ones. That would foster greater prejudice and contravene the universal value that all people are equal.

Groups that oppose same-sex marriage have given many baffling justifications for their proposals, such as that same-sex marriage would make the birthrate even lower than it already is.

They forget that gay people are and will continue to be gay even if there is no same-sex marriage, so how could it affect the birthrate?

Another rationale they put forward is that God made man and woman, so we cannot have same-sex unions. However, Taiwan protects freedom of belief, so one religion’s ideas should not be imposed on everyone else.

These groups have also said that changing the law to accommodate same-sex marriage would use up a great deal of national resources and get in the way of economic development.

However, amending the Civil Code would involve less time, research and personnel than drawing up a special law, so it would be the most economical solution.

Anyone aged 18 or older can vote in the referendums. On Nov. 24, please go wherever you have your household registration to vote.

For heterosexuals, amending the Civil Code is only a matter of incorporating same-sex marriage alongside opposite-sex unions, but for homosexuals, opposing same-sex marriage would negatively affect their basic human rights.

To make Taiwan the first Asian nation that allows same-sex marriages, to remove prejudice against gay men and lesbians and make society more equal, please vote “agree” to the two “good” referendum proposals — Nos. 14 and 15 — and “disagree” to the three “bad” ones — Nos. 10, 11 and 12.

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