Thu, May 09, 2019 - Page 1 News List

LGBT rights backers, foes rally outside Legislative Yuan

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Same-sex families yesterday participate in a demonstration at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei in support of the Cabinet’s draft bill on same-sex marriage.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

More than 1,000 LGBT rights advocates and opponents yesterday demonstrated outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei ahead of a cross-caucus negotiation on bills related to same-sex marriage.

At today’s cross-caucus negotiation, legislators are to discuss three bills that would, respectively, legalize same-sex marriage, same-sex unions or a same-sex family member registration system.

While the first bill, proposed by the Executive Yuan, would apply most of the marriage rights stated in the Civil Code to same-sex couples, the other two, which are based on suggestions from conservative groups and are respectively proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), would offer fewer rights to same-sex couples.

To back the Executive Yuan’s bill, more than 40 same-sex couples yesterday rallied in front of the Legislative Yuan, some bringing their children.

“The Executive Yuan’s version has made some compromises, but it would still help protect families such as mine by allowing people to adopt the biological child of their same-sex spouse,” said Jay Lin (林志杰), who is raising twin sons with his partner.

The other two bills would at best give same-sex parents temporary guardianship over their non-biological children, he said.

If those two bills were passed, “our family would be treated as a second-rate family,” he said.

Cindy, who with her partner of nine years is raising two children she conceived through artificial fertilization, said that her family is the same as every other.

“We love our children deeply. They are not missing anything in their life except for legal protection,” she said.

Should the Executive Yuan bill fail to pass, their children would not have a legal parent if she passed away, she said.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 protesters led by the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance rallied on a neighboring street to oppose the bill.

More than 7 million people last year voted in favor of keeping the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, said alliance president Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩), who initiated the referendum.

“The referendum result cannot be changed by any legislator or even the president,” he said.

If the definition of marriage is altered, families, education and culture would face fundamental changes, he added.

The DPP has advocated for increased public participation in national policies through referendums, but now “only President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Council of Grand Justices are allowed to call the shots,” said Lai, who briefly joined the rally.

“There are only about a dozen grand justices, but we have more than 7 million people,” he added.

The Council of Grand Justices on May 24, 2017, 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.

The interpretation says that the legislature must pass a law or amendment to legalize same-sex marriage within two years, or it would be automatically legalized.

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