Fri, Sep 23, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Legal marrying age should be equal, DPP legislator says

By Hsiao Ting-fan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The legal age of marriage for women should be raised from 16 to 18, just as it is for men, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) said at a legislative question-and-answer session on Tuesday.

Describing Taiwan’s laws as “highly discriminatory and a legal relic from the 1930s,” Lin said that under the Civil Code, the minimum age for engaging in a marriage contract is 15 for women and 17 for men, while the legal age of marriage is 16 for women and 18 for men.

She said that distinguishing civil rights by gender symbolizes inequality.

The UN International Bill of Human Rights defines people under 18 as children, and as a result the WHO and the UN Children’s Fund enacted international laws that forbid child marriage, Lin added.

The Ministry of Justice since 2011 has attempted to draft a legal amendment to bring gender equality to the age of marriage, and a governmental committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women had also recommended legal amendments, but their efforts have repeatedly failed, Lin said.

The age of marriage under Taiwanese law constitutes gender discrimination and child marriage which are forbidden under international law, Lin said, adding: “Society has moved on; the laws are not in line with the needs of a modern society.”

Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said that the ministry had tried to draft a bill to amend the laws during the previous legislative session, but its efforts were bogged down in a review committee amid disagreements between its members and consulting academics.

The legislator asked Premier Lin Chuan (林全) to fulfill the nation’s commitment to bring its laws in line with international human-rights standards.

Lin Chuan said that the current laws “have room for critique,” and that he wants to work toward that goal with the consensus of lawmakers.

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