Same-sex marriage proponents and opponents sparred over a proposed referendum at a Central Election Commission (CEC) hearing yesterday.
The proposed referendum topic would be on a requirement that any legislation changing the definition of marriage, custody, family or family relationships in the Civil Code (民法) be approved in a national referendum before becoming law.
Yesterday’s hearing on referendum wording was called after conservative activists associated with the Faith and Hope League submitted more than 130,000 petition signatures for a proposed referendum aimed at preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Crossing the first 100,000 signature petition drive threshold would potentially move it into a second petition drive phase if its wording is approved.
Activists from both sides packed the CEC’s spacious 100-seat conference room, with a large crowd kept in the building’s lobby for hours because of space limitations.
Faith and Hope League activists said the referendum was necessary to prevent influential legislators from “sneaking through” legalization, creating “serious and irreversible” damage to social mores.
“Lawmaking in Taiwan is extremely rough and careless to the point that the people have lost faith in the legislative process,” league co-chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) said.
The power concentrated in the hands of committee conveners and caucus leaders could be used to quickly hold a vote on the legalization of same-sex marriage before opponents have time to mobilize, she said.
Rumors that legislators were considering “sneaking through” such legislation sparked a massive rally along Katagalan Boulevard in 2013, with a related referendum petition serving as the inspiration for activists’ current drive.
“This referendum is aimed at reducing social costs,” league co-chairman Chen Chih-hung (陳志宏) said.
He said that requiring a referendum before same-sex marriage is legalized would demonstrate whether there is a full “social consensus” on the issue, reducing controversy and protests.
Opponent of the referendum said it would unconstitutionally limit the Legislative Yuan’s power to pass laws.
“These restrictions would apply to nearly the entire family relations section of the Civil Code and would amount to stripping the legislators elected by the people of their lawmaking authority,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), who was one of the principal sponsors of the 2013 bill.
“Passing laws is part of the Legislative Yuan’s authority — when we amend laws as times change, there is absolutely no requirement that there be a referendum,” she said, adding that referendums were constitutionally intended to supplement — not replace — representative democracy.
“Holding a referendum every time we need to amend articles which are related to marriage and family would be time-consuming and strip the Legislative Yuan of the ability to respond quickly to societal changes,” attorney and women’s rights advocate Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕) said. “Under our constitutional system, direct democracy and indirect democracy are supposed to supplement and complement each other, rather than restraining each other.”
Constitutional concerns were echoed by government official who spoke at the hearing, with officials also saying the broad referendum language was inconsistent with Referendum Act (公民投票法) requirements.
Lin Hsiu-lian (林秀蓮), director of the Ministry of Justice Department of Legal Affairs, said the referendum should not be approved because it would not clearly establish or overturn a law or important national policy as required and also potentially could be viewed as including several different topics because of its scope.
White-label cellphones manufactured in a Chinese factory are believed to contain Trojan software that enables fraudsters to set up mobile game accounts using the owners’ phone numbers, police said on Saturday, with nearly 100 older people affected so far. After receiving a number of complaints from local branches over the past few months, the National Police Agency launched an investigation into the mobile game points-for-cash scam. The fraudsters would pose as women online to persuade people to buy game point cards at supermarkets and load the points into accounts created with the cellphone users’ phone numbers before requesting cash refunds from the
‘UNAFRAID’: Most Taiwanese do not seem to be aware of the danger of war and might be unprepared, a KMT legislator said of the poll by an affiliated foundation Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese believe that a war between Taiwan and China is “unlikely” or “impossible,” a survey released yesterday by the National Policy Foundation showed. The survey asked participants if they thought there was a possibility of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on recent developments, said the foundation, which is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While 42.5 percent of respondents thought it was “unlikely” and 17.1 percent believed it was “impossible,” 5.1 percent said it was “very likely” and 17.2 percent said it was “fairly possible,” the survey showed. Another 18.2 percent gave
The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered three more suspects in a feces attack on a Taipei restaurant to be held incommunicado over concerns that they might tamper with evidence, flee or renew their alleged attacks. The three suspects — two brothers surnamed Lee (李) and another man identified as Chiang (江) — were arrested on charges of vandalism, public insult, extortion and injury after the court held a detention hearing earlier in the day, court spokesperson Huang Pei-chen (黃珮禎) said. The court in a statement said that the three men said they had no rancor against anyone in the restaurant and that
DISCUSSION: The KMT chairman said that Retrocession Day is an important ROC holiday and its celebration had nothing to do with a struggle within the party The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hopes to highlight the “important connection” between the Republic of China (ROC) and Taiwan with its celebration of Retrocession Day on Sunday, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday. In response to media queries in Taichung, Chiang said that Retrocession Day is an important ROC holiday, and that its celebration had nothing to do with a struggle within the KMT over its party line. The KMT values ROC holidays, such as Double Ten National Day and Retrocession Day, he said, adding that since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, observation of the holidays has “weakened.” The