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.
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest