Sun, Sep 09, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Same-sex union activists aim for 1 million signatures

OPENING MARRIAGES:A-mei was the first to sign the petition, which aims to give gay, lesbian and transgendered people the equal rights to marry

By Yang Chiu-ying and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

The signature of singer Chang Hui-mei — better known as A-mei — is seen on a poster promoting a campaign by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights to collect 1 million signatures in support of diverse forms of marriage to legal protection yesterday.

Photo: Yang Chiu-ying, Taipei Times

Civic groups started a signature drive in Taipei yesterday, petitioning the government to pass legislation that acknowledges diverse forms of marriage.

The first person to add their signature drive was the singer Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹, better known as A-mei), a longtime, staunch supporter of same-sex rights. Aside from being the first to sign the petition, A-mei has also volunteered to make video clips promoting the concept of multiple definitions of families.

Other public figures who yesterday endorsed the petition included writer Chen Hsueh (陳雪) and award-winning screenwriter Neil Peng (馮光遠).

The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), which initiated the petition, said that as long as rights and liberties do not hinder social harmony or harm the public, Taiwanese are protected under the Constitution, but unfortunately the legal definition of marriage still refers only to the union of a man and a woman.

This definition deprives homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people the right to marriage and it is a violation of the Constitution to deny marriage to these four groups, the alliance said.

The petition sought to make same-sex marriage, civil partnerships and a more open definition of families recognized by the state with legal protection.

Alliance secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh (簡志潔) said the alliance had completed a draft amendment to the Civil Code that it has published on the group’s Web site.

Alliance chairperson Victoria Hsu (許秀雯) said that 11 countries — including Denmark, Argentina, South Africa and Spain — recognize same-sex marriages.

Myanmar’s judicial authorities were also looking into the legalization of same-sex marriages this year and France could pass legislation recognizing same-sex marriages next year, she added.

It is evident that countries around the world are beginning to legalize same-sex marriages, Hsu said.

The alliance said the signature drive would run for one-year and that it hoped 1 million signatures could be collected during that time.

It would then forward the relevant documents to the Legislative Yuan for consideration, it said.

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