About 1,500 supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, as lawmakers negotiated versions of a bill to fulfill the requirements of the Council of Grand Justices’ Interpretation No. 748.
The council on May 24, 2017, ruled that the Civil Code’s prohibition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and set a two-year deadline for the law to be amended to allow marriage between partners of the same sex.
The rally, which was organized by LGBT rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, was held in support of the Executive Yuan’s version of the bill.
Pegatron Corp (和碩) chairman Tung Tzu-hsien (童子賢), actress Wen Chen-ling (溫貞菱) and director Yee Chih-yen (易智言) were among the celebrities at the rally.
The Executive Yuan’s bill is already a compromise for LGBT groups, who would not accept any other possibility, coalition chief coordinator Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said.
While the Cabinet’s bill is not perfect, as it does not guarantee “complete marriage equality,” it is a compromise that LGBT rights advocates are willing to make to end the dispute between those who support and oppose marriage equality, and out of respect for societal harmony, she said.
LGBT groups would not accept a bill that does not allow same-sex partners to register their marriage or become legal spouses, she said, adding that “unions” cannot replace marriage.
Meanwhile, the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation hosted a news conference in Taipei calling on lawmakers not to force the passage of a same-sex marriage bill, saying that doing so would be against the will of the people.
The Legislative Yuan is required to enact legislation based on the principle that the Civil Code defines marriage as between a man and a woman, the group said, adding that this “new legislative principle” was introduced with the passage last year of Referendum No. 10, which asked: “Do you agree that the Civil Code should define marriage as the union between a man and a woman?”
The group urged the Legislative Yuan to adopt the “draft enforcement act of Referendum No. 12,” one of the three proposed bills.
The version, which was introduced by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), would guarantee the right of two people of the same sex to live together, it said.
Lawmakers failed to reach a consensus during negotiations, but agreed to remove an article in Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua’s (林岱樺) bill that would have given a same-sex couple’s relatives the right to request the annulment of their union.
The Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan is to host another rally outside the Legislative Yuan on Friday as lawmakers vote on the bills.
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