Thu, Apr 19, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Advocates to promote referendum on gender equality

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Social Democratic Party member Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) yesterday said she would collaborate with other LGBT rights advocates to promote a referendum supporting gender equality to counter two referendum proposals aimed at preventing same-sex marriage.

Three referendum proposals put forward by the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance on Tuesday passed initial review by the Central Election Commission, despite widespread criticism that they are discriminatory toward the LGBT community and possibly unconstitutional.

The proposals ask: “Do you agree that the right of same-sex couples to live together should be protected through ways that do not require amending the Civil Code”; “Do you agree that marriage should be strictly defined as between a man and a woman in the Civil Code”; and “Do you agree that provisions in the Enforcement Rules for Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法施行細則) concerning homosexuality education should not be implemented at the elementary and junior-high school levels?”

Miao said on Facebook that she was furious that the controversial proposals had been approved by the commission, but added that “feelings of anger must be turned into momentum for actions.”

“The alliance’s proposals would be formally approved and voted on if they can collect 280,000 signatures in six months. Given the size of certain religious groups, passing that threshold would be a piece of cake,” Miao said.

If the referendums are passed, it would be a step backward for LGBT rights and gender equality, she said.

“Since the government is allowing people to vote on human rights, we cannot afford to do nothing,” she added.

To counter the alliance’s “anti-intellectual” proposals, Miao said she and several other LGBT rights advocates — including writer Chu Yu-hsun (朱宥勳), Green Party spokesman Yi Chun-hung (易俊宏) and writer Kris Chu (朱家安) — would promote a referendum to support gender equality to counter them.

She asked people to sign up for the cause online, and within four hours received support from more than 10,000 people, far exceeding the initial referendum threshold of 1,870 people.

Miao said she and the other initiators have begun drafting a proposed question and would soon inform people of the details.

Separately yesterday, the New Power Party criticized the commission’s approval of the alliance’s proposals to prevent same-sex marriage, saying that they are discriminatory toward LGBT people.

“Any law that promotes segregation based on gender, race and class is discrimination,” the party caucus said in a statement.

The party has since last year been pushing for an amendment to the Civil Code that would change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, but its efforts to prioritize the bill have been repeatedly blocked by the Democratic Progressive Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), it said.

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