Tue, Aug 11, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Poll finds support for gay marriage, law on adultery

MARRIAGE LAWS:Ministry of Justice online polls found that 75% of respondents support gay marriage, while 86% of respondents oppose decriminalizing adultery

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Justice has launched online polls on issues related to marriage, including same-sex marriage, to gauge public opinion on plans being considered and policies being implemented.

Among the questions are: “Do you support establishing a law that would allow same-sex partnerships?”; “Do you support legislation that gives homosexuals the right to have ‘marriage-like’ or ‘marital’ relations?”; and “Should adultery be decriminalized?”

Each issue on the platform at join.gov.tw/openup/ is open for discussion for three months, with Internet users able to vote in favor of or against the policies in question.

Same-sex marriage has been a hot topic pushed by local supporters of the idea since the US Supreme Court ruled in June that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 of the country’s states.

That might be why the question “Do you support establishing a law that would allow same-sex partnerships?” has drawn the most interest of all of the topics, drawing tens of thousands of votes and many comments since being posted on the government platform on Aug. 3.

As of Sunday, 22,510 respondents (75 percent) have voted in favor of the idea, and 7,325 (25 percent) have voted against it. On the much-debated issue, the ministry has said it is inclined to draft a so-called “civil union act” aimed at protecting the rights of homosexuals, but it has not ruled out drafting a law that directly allows same-sex marriage.

As for the decriminalization of adultery, more than 10,000 people have weighed in on whether Article 239 of the Criminal Code should be withdrawn since the question was posted on May 14, with 9,106 respondents (86 percent) opposing decriminalization and 1,533 (14 percent) voting in support of it.

The article stipulates that a married person who commits adultery be sentenced to at least one year in jail, and the other offending party be subject to the same punishment.

A respondent who opposed decriminalizing the offense surnamed Hsieh (謝) said that many Taiwanese women have long put up with unfair treatment during married life, and if they are deprived of the “only weapon” they have, most people in the country would not approve it.

Another respondent who approved withdrawing the law, identified as “c,” said because marriage is defined as a civil contract, it should be handled as a civil affair whenever such a contract is broken.

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