Amid heated protests, amendments to the Civil Code to recognize same-sex marriage cleared a legislative committee yesterday, bringing the nation one step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage.
The legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee passed draft amendments to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage and entitle same-sex couples to the same marital, parental and adoptive rights and obligations accorded to heterosexual couples by the Civil Code and other laws, with the exception of the presumption of paternity, a legal determination that is still exclusively for heterosexual couples.
During the review, the committee revised an amendment proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) that would neutralize the gender-based Article 972 of the Civil Code, which stipulates that a marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Yu’s amendment would remove the “man and woman” provision from the article and recognize marriage as an agreement between “two parties,” a contentious point between supporters and opponents of the marriage equality legislation.
However, to reduce opposition to the legislation, DPP Legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) raised a motion to revise Yu’s amendment, proposing that “man and woman” be retained, but inserting an addendum to recognize “both parties of a same-sex marriage.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) raised a similar motion.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Kuo’s motion was passed.
An amendment to the adoption regulations of the Civil Code would introduce an anti-discrimination provision to prohibit the courts from rejecting adoption applications based on gender, gender identification or sexual orientation.
The amendments, as well as other draft bills on marriage equality, are to be deliberated in cross-caucus negotiations before further reviews. The next legislative review is not expected until April.
“It is an act of democracy that the amendments were passed after communication and deliberations,” Yu said.
She called on the public not to spread misinformation about the amendments, as, unlike opponents of the legislation have said, the amendments would not remove the legal terms “father” and “mother” or “husband” and “wife.”
“The public can rest assured that the legislation will not change heterosexual marriage in any way, but it will extend [the rights and obligations of] such marriages to same-sex couples,” she said. “The legislation will not destroy the family or abolish marriage.”
The legalization of same-sex marriage does not cause civic unrest in the Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, Yu said, urging marriage equality opponents to exercise tolerance.
She rejected proposals to launch a referendum to decide on marriage equality, saying a human rights issue should not be put to the vote.
“We are not God. How do we have the right to decide on other people’s human rights?” Yu asked.
It would take at least six months for the legislation to pass, she said, calling on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights campaigners to make use of those “golden six months” to communicate with the public.
Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said the Ministry of Justice would propose a special same-sex marriage law by February, which is expected to undergo review in the next legislative session along with the amendments to the Civil Code passed yesterday.
The committee had asked the ministry to propose legal solutions on the issue of marriage equality, and the ministry could finalize a draft bill by February, Chiu said.
‘TRUSTED PARTNER’: The company said that it is ‘committed to help bring an end to the pandemic,’ while the health minister denied it was a ‘chips for vaccines’ deal BioNTech on Wednesday said that it plans to provide its COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that in December last year the German company at the last minute halted a deal for the nation to to buy 5 million doses. Earlier on Wednesday, Chen said that officials were on the verge of announcing the deal when BioNTech pulled the plug, although he added that it was still pending and had not been torn up. While he did not say that China was to blame, Chen implied there was a political dimension to the decision. “BioNTech
SPY GAMES: For more than 20 years, intelligence officers traveled to China, where they identified other MIB personnel and allegedly traded secrets for money and gifts The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted four retired Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) officials, who are accused of providing China with a list of bureau personnel and other classified materials while attempting to recruit colleagues into a spy network in Taiwan. Prosecutors charged Chang Chao-jan (張超然), Chou Tien-tzu (周天慈) and Wang Ta-wang (王大旺), former colonels at the bureau, and Yueh Chih-chung (岳志忠) — a former major general and chief of the MIB’s Fifth Bureau, where he was in charge of sending agents to China on covert assignments — with breaches of the National Security Act (國家安全法) and the National Intelligence Services
CONTINUED VIGILANCE: People would still be required to wear masks at eight types of public spaces and border controls would continue, Chen Shih-chung told reporters The government’s autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to continue beyond Sunday, but eating and drinking on high-speed trains would be allowed from Monday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while there were no new confirmed cases in Taiwan yesterday, the global COVID-19 situation remains serious, so the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program would be extended beyond its Sunday deadline. “Border control measures, including requiring a negative polymerase chain reaction test result obtained within three days of boarding a plane to Taiwan, and undergoing quarantine in a
MORE RISK? Three Taiwanese family members were found to have the Brazilian variant, which CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo said might be more infectious From Wednesday, all travelers who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days are required to be quarantined at a centralized facility after arriving in Taiwan and undergo a COVID-19 test upon ending quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that starting from 12am on Wednesday, all travelers arriving from Brazil, including those who have transited through the country in the past 14 days, would have to stay at a centralized quarantine facility. “They will be tested for COVID-19 upon completing the 14-day quarantine, and they