Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lai urged not to neglect same-sex marriage bill

Staff writer, with CNA

Gay rights groups on Friday urged the Executive Yuan to respond to the May constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices in favor of same-sex marriage and quickly propose a draft bill for its legalization.

Although Premier William Lai (賴清德) has expressed support for same-sex marriage, a bill is nowhere to be seen on his Cabinet’s list of priorities, gay-marriage advocate Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said at a news conference at the legislature.

The court had asked the government to work out the details needed to achieve the “equal protection of the freedom of marriage,” Lu said, urging the Executive Yuan to fulfill its responsibility and propose a draft bill in response to the ruling.

She also called on the Legislative Yuan to quickly pass the second and third reading of an amendment to the Civil Code that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children.

The amendment has been stuck in the legislature after it passed an initial reading late last year.

Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association member Tsao Cheng-hsi (曹承羲) said that gay couples urgently need legal recognition and protection, and Lai should not turn away from them.

Taiwan Gender Queer Rights Advocacy Alliance secretary-general Nelson Hu (胡勝翔) said his partner of 12 years had been diagnosed with a rare form of hemangioma and doctors have said he could die soon.

Even though they have registered their partnership at a household registration office, giving Hu the right to sign medical forms for his partner, they are still excluded from many social welfare benefits reserved for married heterosexual couples, Hu said.

“We don’t have that much time to wait,” he said in a statement.

Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that the executive would handle the issue within the time allotted by the Grand Justices and would listen to opinions from all sides.

The court asked the authorities to amend or enact laws to legalize same-sex marriage within two years.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) said she believes the that Executive Yuan will respect the court’s ruling and push for marriage equality.

Ho said that the issue has yet to be discussed in the DPP caucus meeting, but she respects individual lawmakers’ opinions.

The news conference was held ahead of the one-year anniversary of the death of French lecturer Jacques Picoux, who committed suicide on Oct. 16 last year.

A prominent figure in the gay community, Picoux was reportedly denied the right to make medical decisions for his longtime partner before he died of an illness.

He was later also forced to vacate the apartment he shared with his partner, because their union was not recognized as a marriage.

Picoux’s death reignited calls for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan.

The groups said they are to host an event to commemorate Picoux on Oct. 16 on Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.

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