Sun, Dec 25, 2016 - Page 8 News List

TAIPEI WATCHER: A critical period for marriage equality

With a massive turnout of LGBT rights supporters at a benefit concert earlier this month, debate on same-sex marraige continues to intensify both inside and outside of the legislature

By Eddy Chang  /  Staff reporter

Up to a quarter-million people gather at a concert on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office on Dec. 10, calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Photo: CNA

As many as 250,000 participants waved rainbow flags and placards at a star-studded benefit concert in front of the Presidential Office on Dec. 10, making it one of Asia’s biggest events ever in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Coinciding with Human Rights Day, the event was part of the LGBT community’s ongoing fight to make sure that the legislature would promptly pass the draft amendments to the Civil Code (民法) to legalize same-sex marriage.

It was the first time attending a gay rights event for many concertgoers, who said that they finally decided to take action after watching the recent anti-gay TV commercials sponsored by the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance (or “Happiness Alliance,” 幸福盟), formed by the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of the Family (or “Family Alliance,” 護家盟) and a handful of Christian groups.

Happiness Alliance has spent tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars to run the commercials that spread lies and hatred, claiming that if the legislature passes the draft bills, terms such as “father” and “mother” will disappear and family structure will collapse.

In response, some celebrities have chosen to publicly “come out of the closet.” From film director Yee Chih-yen (易智言) to entertainment agent Isaac Chen (陳鎮川) and TV host Chen Hong (陳鴻), their brave actions have helped increase the visibility of homosexuality in Taiwan’s society.

HYPOCRITICAL ACTIONS

Concert attendees also condemned the assault on Kevin Yang (楊凱鈞), a gay man who was attacked for waving a rainbow flag near a rally organized by the alliance a week earlier.

“People kicked, beat and splashed coffee on me while others stood and laughed,” Yang wrote on his Facebook page. “Are these the family values that they are protecting? They make me feel sick to my stomach.”

Yang reportedly suffered a fractured rib and was rushed to the hospital. He is pressing charges against the alliance. At the same rally, transgender Wu Hsin-en (吳馨恩) was choked by LGBT-haters, who even tried to rip off her pants. Luckily, the police came to her rescue.

Given these cases, it is ironic that some alliance members have launched a campaign against so-called “rainbow terror” (彩虹恐怖), accusing homosexuals of “bullying” them. Are they creating a new definition for the word “bullying?”

Judicial Reform Foundation (司法改革基金會) chairman Lin Yung-sung (林永頌) echoed the alliance’s accusations by labeling the call for marriage equality “homosexual hegemony” (同性戀霸權). Stunned by the chairman’s discriminatory remarks, several lawyers have announced their withdrawal from the foundation.

Family Alliance secretary-general Andrew Chang (張守一) also made the headlines for his remarks during a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan on Nov. 24. “If people in same-sex relationships are allowed to wed, can people also marry a ferris wheel if they want?” he asked.

Chang and his cult vow to protect traditional family values. However, Next Magazine (壹週刊) uncovered earlier this month that he had an extramarital affair that resulted in a daughter. Is he trying to restore the ancient family structure, under which a man had “three wives and four concubines” (三妻四妾)?

Chang has been criticized as a true hypocrite since the news broke, and even his son disapproves of his father’s stance. “Other people’s marriages are none of your goddamn business” (別人結婚,干你屁事), the son posted on Facebook.

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