Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) yesterday asked if President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is abandoning its efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, as a bill to legalize such unions was not included in the Cabinet’s list of 72 priority bills for the next legislative session.
The Executive Yuan’s list of bills announced on Monday included proposals to amend the “one fixed day off, one flexible rest day” workweek policy, tax reform, economic booster measures, developing “green” energy sources, building “smart” infrastructure, promoting Taiwanese culture and addressing cross-strait relations.
Notably missing was the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which was one of Tsai’s campaign promises and is a major Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) policy.
Hsu supports making same-sex marriages legal, but in a Facebook post, he wrote that he had expected the Executive Yuan to drop the bill ahead of the legislative session that opens on Friday.
Opponents of same-sex unions are sure to ramp up pressure on politicians ahead of next year’s special municipality mayoral and city and county council elections, and many candidates were likely to distance themselves from the issue, Hsu said.
Given those circumstances, he said he wondered if the government would be able to push through its bill.
The prime time for passing the bill on marriage equality would be within six months of the Council of Grand Justice’ ruling on May 24 that it was unconstitutional to deny homosexuals the right to be legally married, Hsu said.
However, the Executive Yuan’s progress on proposing a draft bill has stalled, a situation that is unlikely to be remedied soon, since former Executive Yuan secretary-general Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), who was in charge of formulating a draft, now heads the National Development Council, Hsu said.
Premier William Lai (賴清德) should respect the grand justices’ landmark decision and resume the effort to legalize same-sex marriages, he said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
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DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb