Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Legislator struggles to play down gay barbs


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛) apologized twice yesterday for denigrating homosexual people.

Hou, a surgeon who represents Tainan County, said on Thursday that legalization of gay marriage would result in national annihilation because same-sex unions could not produce the offspring required for sustainable development.

He was speaking at the legislature during a meeting of the Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee.

Members of gay and lesbian groups protested in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning to express their outrage at Hou's comment. The demonstrators said the DPP had moved away from its pledge to protect the civil liberties of homosexual people.

They demanded that the DPP discipline Hou, and that the legislator issue a formal apology for offending homosexual people.

But Hou was circumspect in his initial apology.

"I apologize for causing a misunderstanding among the public because of reports about my remarks yesterday," Hou said at a news conference.

"There is a discrepancy between my original intention in making the remarks and the reports in the media about the interpellation session. I brought up the argument purely from the point of view of medical science," he said.

"I have no wish to discriminate against homosexuals," he said.

Hou then made a second apology at another press conference, saying that he did not blame the media for misinterpreting his comment.

"My interpellation was not centered on the fall of the nation. But I realize that my inappropriate expression upset homosexual groups, and therefore I apologize to homosexual people and the public," he said.

DPP legislative leader Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) insisted that the party's pledge to protect the rights of homosexual people was still firm.

The DPP would work to improve the legal rights of homosexual people by amending relevant laws, he said.

The law currently states that one man and one woman comprise a union.

The DPP caucus will discuss whether it will discipline Hou on Monday.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top