Sat, Nov 14, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Party pushes marriage referendum

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Faith and Hope League announce their campaign to push for a referendum on family protection yesterday in Taipei, with petitions piled up in front of them.

Photo: CNA

A referendum petition drive for a national vote on the legalization of same-sex marriage was announced by the newly founded Faith and Hope League (FHL) party yesterday.

FHL candidates and representatives of related civic groups shouted “yes” to cries of “protect family and children” as they stood behind petitions against same-sex marriage collected two years earlier.

They said they would begin collecting petitions next week to build on the existing forms and push for a referendum on changes to the legal definition of family.

“Anything that would change the definition of family should be decided by the people as a whole rather than by legislators,” league co-chairman Wang Ping-seng (王秉森) said.

“Because this is an extremely broad and complex issue, it should be decided through a national consensus,” he said.

He said that research conducted by the Ministry of Justice had found 342 articles in 109 different laws would be affected by changes to the legal definition of family.

Party members questioned the validity of polls showing that a majority of people support same-sex marriage, adding that restrictions were necessary to prevent legislators from “sneaking through” (偷渡) changes.

“Any change to the structure [of family] should be made only through the most real and authentic expression of public opinion — a government-sponsored referendum,” FHL cochairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) said.

The league — whose leadership is made of of people who have a background in church-related organizations — has made opposition to gay rights the focus of its campaign since it was founded earlier this year.

Chen Yi-fang (陳怡芳), a division chief with the general planning division of the Central Election Commission, said that there is no time limit for when referendum petitions submitted in the initial phase have to be collected, adding that the referendum language used on the forms should be identical with proposed language.

If the referendum question is approved, petitioners would then have six months to collect a second round of signatures equal to 5 percent of the votes in the most recent presidential election, making it “practically impossible” for the proposed referendum to be held in conjunction with the January elections, she said.

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