Sat, Nov 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

ELECTIONS: Legislator and professor debate marriage equality

Staff writer, with CNA

Supporters and opponents of a referendum on amending the Civil Code to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday staked out their positions in a televised forum ahead of the vote on Saturday next week.

New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and Tseng Pin-chieh (曾品傑), a professor at National Chung Cheng University’s College of Law, presented opposing views on the referendum, which is to ask voters if they agree to amend the Civil Code to guarantee the marriage rights of same-sex couples.

The code defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but Huang, a proponent of the referendum, said that social ethics would not be affected if it is amended to cover same-sex couples.

Enacting a separate law to guarantee their rights, as is advocated by anti-LGBT rights forces, cannot confer marriage equality rights promised by the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, he said.

The court ruled that provisions in the code that exclude marriage between people of the same sex violate people’s freedom of marriage and their right to equality as guaranteed by Articles 22 and 7 of the Constitution respectively.

Huang said that because the code is the main law governing family and marriage, it should be used to protect same-sex marriage rights.

He also disagreed with his opponents’ claim that amending the code would be too complicated, saying it would only require changing five articles.

Establishing a separate act would be far more complicated and run the risk of missing important details, he added.

Tseng argued that the interpretation did not specifically state that Part IV of the Civil Code that covers family was unconstitutional.

Instead, it found that the law fails to protect the right of gay and lesbian people to live together, and therefore a separate act is needed to complement the Civil Code, he said.

The code governs marriage and family relationships based on the premise of unions between a man and a woman in ways that cannot be applied to same-sex marriage, Tseng said.

That includes the presumption of legitimacy, which states that the husband of a woman is the father of the child to whom she gives birth, he said.

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