Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Controversial same-sex ‘union’ bill advances

DEADLINE:The bill, which would give family members the right to request a review of a marriage’s sincerity, is to be reviewed beside two other marriage equality bills

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers vote on bills at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

A “same-sex union” bill drafted by HTC chairwoman Cher Wang’s (王雪紅) Faith, Hope and Love Foundation and sponsored by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) yesterday advanced to a second reading.

The DPP caucus at a plenary session successfully moved to advance the bill, titled the “draft enforcement act for Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 and Referendum No. 12,” to a second reading.

The New Power Party caucus filed a separate motion to return the bill to the Procedural Committee, which was struck down.

The result was in line with a decision reached during cross-caucus negotiations on Thursday that all three bills on the issue be reviewed side-by-side during another round of negotiations.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that the next round of negotiations could begin next week, as the deadline set by the interpretation nears.

It is to be reviewed alongside the Executive Yuan’s “enforcement act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748” and another sponsored by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) on behalf of the conservative Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, both of which proceeded to a second reading in March.

Referendum No. 12, which was voted on alongside the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 last year, asked voters: “Do you agree that the right to persons of the same sex to create a permanent union should be guaranteed by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code?”

It passed after garnering 6.4 million “yes” votes to 4.07 million “no” votes.

Lin’s version of the bill uses the term “same-sex union,” while the Cabinet’s version uses “same-sex marriage.”

The latter is in line with the Council of Grand Justices’ interpretation passed on May 24, 2017, which declared the lack of language guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to get married in the Civil Code unconstitutional, and required that a law or amendment be introduced to legalize same-sex marriage within two years.

Although supporters of Lin’s version have said that it is a compromise between the other two versions, DPP legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said otherwise.

Yu on Thursday called Lin’s version “stark discrimination” against same-sex couples.

The version contains a “fake marriage” clause that would authorize prosecutors or social welfare agencies to request that a court intervene and abrogate a same-sex union if relatives within three degrees of consanguinity of either member of the union believe that it was not for the purpose of two people “living life together,” Yu said on Facebook, questioning what right people have to scrutinize the sincerity of others’ marriage.

The version also has a clause that says: “As one’s conscience and freedom should not be affected by the enactment of this act, conveying or inculcating beliefs against the relationship described in Article 2 [same-sex union] does not constitute discrimination,” she said.

Tuan said that he despises all lawmakers who sponsored or cosponsored the bill, regardless of their party affiliation.

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