Veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威) yesterday filed an application for a constitutional review of the nation’s marriage laws, his second time doing so in his 30-year campaign for the right to marry his partner.
Chi’s application came on the heels of a stalled legislative review on Monday of a bill that aims to legalize same-sex marriage, which saw opposing rallies clash outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei while the issue was debated inside.
Backed by more than a dozen lawyers, as well as activists from the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), Chi said that the laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying are a violation of their constitutional rights.
Photo: David Chang, EPA
With the legislature controlled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), gay rights advocates say that the legislative path toward legalizing same-sex marriage remains difficult, while the judicial path might provide a viable alternative.
As one of the first openly gay social activists during the Martial Law era, Chi was arrested in 1986 when he filed a petition to the legislature demanding same-sex marriage be legalized, which led to him being imprisoned for five months.
Between 1998 and 2000, Chi went through multiple failed attempts to seek legal recognition for same-sex marriage, leading to his first application for a constitutional review.
Chi’s 2000 application was stalled indefinitely by the Grand Council of Justices and never went through a thorough review, he said.
More than a decade later, Chi and his partner tried to register as a married couple again in March last year, after a campaign to seek the recognition of another gay couple — Chen Ching-hsueh (陳敬學) and Kao Chih-wei (高治偉) — was halted abruptly, following reported death threats to their family members.
After local government agencies refused to register his partnership as a marriage, Chi fought his way through successive levels in court.
The attempt ultimately ended in failure in September, when the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that according to the Civil Code, marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“At the time [in 2000], I stood alone in battle, but I’m glad that more than 10 lawyers are willing to come forward and aid me in my application for a constitutional review today,” Chi said, holding back tears. “I am deeply grateful, and I would like to express my respect.”
In a spontaneous gesture to express his gratitude, Chi kneeled on the ground before the volunteer lawyers, before being swiftly pulled up.
Chi expressed his disappointment over remarks made by the Ministry of Justice and anti-gay marriage legislators during the legislative meeting on Monday.
“Medical evidence has already proved that gays and lesbians are not abnormal people, but we still have a group of homophobic officials and legislators that treat homosexuality like a disease,” Chi said. “[Their actions] have obstructed homosexuals in the pursuit of their own happiness.”
TAPCPR president Victoria Hsu (許秀雯) said constitutional review applications usually have no fixed timetable, while prospects also remain unclear on whether the Marriage Equality Amendment would resume its review at the legislature during the next legislative session, which is to begin in February.
Hsu said the group plans to demand candidates in the 2016 presidential election profess their stance on gay marriage, saying that the issue has garnered enough attention to create a significant impact on public debate.
Alliance members said that according to several recent opinion polls, more than 50 percent of Taiwanese back same-sex marriage, while more than 80 percent of young people aged between 20 and 29 are supportive of the cause.
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
FAMILY: While the CECC agrees ‘in principle’ to allowing entry to foreign spouses and children of foreigners in Taiwan with a residence permit, the issue is still being reviewed A nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended for two weeks until Nov. 1, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that agencies are still discussing whether to allow foreign spouses and children of foreigners in Taiwan with a residence permit to enter the nation. “In principle we agree to relaxing the entry regulations for the group, but relevant agencies are still reviewing and discussing the matter,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The center on Sept. 13 eased border restrictions for foreign dependents of Taiwanese nationals. They can apply
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) yesterday said he would leave the party and would not seek re-election, as he confirmed a report that he worked as an informant for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime when he was a student. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported on Saturday that Huang, 57, worked as an informant for the KMT when he was in college. Huang yesterday on Facebook said he accepts political responsibility for working with the authoritarian government to spy on his fellow students when he was in university and apologized to those affected