The Faith and Hope League, a new Christian-focused political party, yesterday said that its referendum petition drive for a national vote on “family protection” has garnered more than 150,000 signatures in less than 30 days, crossing the 100,000-signature threshold needed for a referendum proposal.
The petition asks that any amendment to the Civil Code on marriage, parents and children, custody and family, which concern the “husband-wife relationship, consanguinity and familial ethics,” not be passed without first being put to a national vote.
The petition is seen as a counterproposal to calls for changes to the wording of the Civil Code that could pave the way for recognition of same-sex marriages.
The league said the marriage and family system is “crucial to future generations’ welfare and kinship, while consanguinity is the keystone of a nation’s development.”
“While collecting petition signatures and interacting with the public, our staff found that most people have no idea that an amendment to the Civil Code regarding marriage being a union between one man and one woman has been discussed in the legislature, while some said that ‘diverse family formation’ is only about same-sex marriage and could not accept the idea after further understanding what three draft bills of ‘diverse family formation’ are about,” the group said.
The draft bills cover same-sex marriage, a partnership system and a non-biologically related family system.
The league said a referendum is the only chance for such significant issues to be openly discussed.
“While only same-sex marriage has been proposed among the three bills, the issues that have not been discussed also have support from parties and politicians,” it said.
“Over the past few years, social activists have often used words such as ‘diversity,’ ‘equality’ and ‘friendliness’ to disguise extremely radical ideas and positions, forming social pressure through online opinion, which has caused political parties and politicians to bow to them,” the party said.
“The government should have a comprehensive and concrete family policy, a policy that would make the family mainstream,” Faith and Hope League legislator-at-large candidate Fong Pei (馮珮) said.
“It is difficult to call a referendum in Taiwan, as the second-stage threshold requires 1 million signatures, but since we have received about 160,000 in a month, we believe we can cross the million threshold,” league co-chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) said.
The petition drive created controversy earlier this month when some petition forms were distributed in elementary and high schools, with one parent saying that the forms were distributed to students to give to their parents.
A group from National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School said on Facebook that some parents were campaigning at the school on a sports day, saying that the ideas put forth in the petition would be good for children, who are being “brainwashed.”
A student newspaper criticized the distribution of the petition to students, saying that while free speech was a right in this nation, it was “outrageous when rights are used to batter the rights of others.”
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