In an unprecedented move, the Council of Grand Justices yesterday announced that it would broadcast live a debate next month on the issue of same-sex marriage from the perspective of a constitutional interpretation.
Legal professionals and four academics are to participate in the debate, which is scheduled for 9:30am on March 24, it said.
The debate will address two requests for a constitutional interpretation on the issue of same-sex marriage, the council said, adding that the cases were filed by the Taipei City Government and gay rights advocate Chi Chia-wei (祁家威).
Chi is widely known as one of the nation’s pioneers in the fight for marriage equality, having first sought recognition of his union with his partner 16 years ago through a constitutional review of the nation’s marriage laws, in which he was defeated.
Three years ago, Chi initiated a second attempt, which also met with failure, despite having the support of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights and more than a dozen lawyers. That case was defeated in the Supreme Court in August 2015.
The March 24 debate would be Chi’s third request for a constitutional review of the nation’s marriage laws.
The other constitutional interpretation requested was filed by the Taipei City Government’s Bureau of Civil Affairs, which has been receiving an increasing number of same-sex marriage registration requests since Chi’s second appeal.
Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association research associate Lu Hsin-chieh (呂欣潔) and her partner, in addition to two other same-sex couples, filed an administrative lawsuit against the bureau after their marriage applications were rejected.
The bureau in 2015 filed for a constitutional interpretation in response.