Sun, Dec 01, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Same-sex marriage activists push for change

DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS:It is an infringement of basic human rights to prevent one person from marrying another, which is what the current law does, critics say

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Groups in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage yesterday held a series of press conferences in Taipei to highlight their position, which they say is based on the principles of promoting gender equality and eliminating gender discrimination.

Women Professors’ Association chairperson Chiang Chen-yin (姜貞吟) said that the current law deprives many people of their rights because the freedom to choose whether you want to get married and who you want to get married to is a basic human right.

“Preventing one person from marrying another person is an infringement of their basic human rights,” she said, adding that “differences between people should not be a cause for discrimination.”

Awakening Foundation secretary-general Lin Shih-fang (林實芳) said that as the foundation fought for many years to ensure that women’s rights would be protected by law, it encountered people arguing that if women gained certain rights, it would ruin the social order and damage family values and morals.

Lin said that similar arguments have often been used recently by groups opposing same-sex marriage.

“However, society in Taiwan has proven that this slippery-slope theory [the idea that corruption starts with small actions] is wrong,” Lin said.

“Because gender equality is protected, we now see individuals being treated equally in many different aspects, and so they can make the most of themselves,” Lin added.

“Seeing differences and respecting diversity is what we want to teach students,” Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association secretary-general Lin Yi-chia (林苡加) said, adding “we need to create an environment of fairness and justice for the next generation.”

At a separate press conference, several students and teachers from law schools around the country said that more than 2,000 law students and alumni had signed a petition to show their support for same-sex marriage as a basic human right.

“Some people who oppose same-sex marriage say that since only different-sex couples can have children, this is the natural and normal form of family,” said Lu Yang-fan (盧彥方), a student from National Taiwan University’s College of Law.

“This kind of reasoning not only hurts same-sex couples, but also couples that don’t want to or cannot give birth,” Lu said.

She added that “it also limits the function of marriage to reproduction, leaving out other important functions of mutual care and affection.”

“These families will not disappear just because the law denies their existence, but it creates a lot of inconvenience or discrimination for these people in their daily lives,” Lu said.

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