Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Referendums abused democracy

By Chien Chih-chieh 簡至潔

Following the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 on May 24 last year, the Democratic Progressive Party government has not proposed a corresponding draft law and has refused to explain the spirit and direction of the draft.

The government’s hesitation encouraged anti-LGBT religious groups, who took advantage of last year’s amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), which significantly lowered requirements, to initiate three illegal and unconstitutional referendums in March.

The first referendum questions proposed by the anti-LGBT camp were: “Do you agree that marriage should be restricted to the union between one man and one woman?” and “On the premise that the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman remains unchanged, do you agree that the rights of two persons of the same sex to permanent cohabitation together should be guaranteed in a law other than the Civil Code?”

They were blatantly trying to block the requirements in Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 that the authorities must within two years from the interpretation’s announcement amend or enact laws to implement “equal protection of the freedom of marriage.”

In the end, the Central Election Commission (CEC) demanded that the questions be changed, and so the proposer added the words “Civil Code,” changing the question to: “Do you agree that the Civil Code should define marriage as the union between a man and a woman?”

This was nothing but an administrative expedient.

The CEC knew that the proposer of the referendum nonsensically stated that “it is not necessary to use the word ‘marriage’ to refer to marriage freedom,” but still approved the proposal.

The anti-LGBT proposer knew that the amended referendum question was only about restricting “marriage” as defined in the Civil Code, yet they still used the initial version of the question in an attempt to brainwash Taiwan and mislead people into believing that as long as they voted yes, “marriage” could be restricted to one man and one woman.

This highly controversial referendum on April 17 passed the first stage of the CEC review. In the following months, the anti-LGBT camp spent hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars on distorting LGBT people’s right to marriage equality, by calling it a “same-sex union” and “same-sex cohabitation.”

The Executive Yuan’s position paper is clear: “The Constitution guarantees people of the same sex the right to marry. This has been confirmed by Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, and it will not be changed due to the results of this referendum.”

However, society has been brainwashed by the anti-LGBT camp, and even the most fundamental component of the constitutional order, that a law must not contravene the Constitution, is being denounced by the anti-LGBT camp for disrespecting public opinion.

People who are brainwashed behave as if they have been bitten by zombies — panic spreads and even the most basic common sense is thrown out the window.

In response to this referendum, which was wrong from the very beginning, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights immediately filed a lawsuit. After it was dismissed, the alliance filed an administrative lawsuit. A referendum cannot be held on a basic human right — this is a fundamental component of the constitutional order.

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