Tue, Dec 13, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Ker Chien-ming says no directive on same-sex law

DIVIDED:The DPP whip said some of the DPP caucus support a special law on same-sex marriage, while others are in favor of amending the Civil Code

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming speaks during a radio interview in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday said that the party caucus would not issue a directive on whether the Civil Code would be amended to allow same-sex marriage or that a special law must be passed.

Ker also denied that he is averse to homosexuality, reports of which have led to speculation that his views have led the DPP to remain passive on amendments to marriage regulations.

A concert on Saturday promoting marriage equality saw people demanding an amendment to the Civil Code rather than a separate law for same-sex marriage, which critics say would be discriminatory.

Ker said in a radio interview yesterday that despite the DPP as a whole supporting marriage equality, both legislative directions have supporters in the caucus.

“This question will not [be solved by] a resolution made by the caucus,” he said.

As DPP legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) — both staunch supporters of an amendment to the Civil Code — are legislators-at-large, radio host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) asked Ker whether their opinion indicates President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) position.

Ker said they did not.

“Tsai believes that the two [opposing] camps should have respect and tolerance for each other. There should not be sharpening and polarization of the opposition and calm communication should be used to decide whether the Civil Code should be amended or whether a special law should be introduced,” Ker said.

While Yu has sought to have reviews of related bills completed by Dec. 26, Ker said that even if the bills are sent out of committee by then, they would not be placed on the legislative agenda for a possible third reading until the next session, which would not start until next year at the earliest.

Ker also said the New Power Party (NPP) was guilty of “slinging mud” at the DPP.

Disagreement between the two parties has arisen, despite both being part of the pan-green camp, with the NPP saying the DPP has failed to make good on promises to advance labor rights and legalize same-sex marriage.

Chou asked whether the DPP would respond to the NPP’s challenges by taking back the three electoral districts the ruling party yielded to the NPP for this year’s legislative elections.

Ker said the matter was for the DPP’s election committee to address.

Ker said the NPP should “put the support it has earned from the young generation to good use” and “lead this force in a positive direction,” instead of playing dirty.

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