The Executive Yuan’s proposal to legalize same-sex unions by drafting a separate law would go against the result of a referendum passed last Saturday that asked: “Do you agree that the right to persons of the same sex to create a permanent union should be guaranteed by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code?” the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance said yesterday.
Referendum No. 12 is one of three initiated by the alliance that passed the voting threshold.
The alliance’s goal was to push for legislation that allows same-sex couples to register as “family members” or parties in a civil union, not a special law to legalize same-sex marriage, alliance president Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩) said at a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The alliance would launch a working group to support legislative efforts and draft a bill that would regulate same-sex couples’ property rights and rights to make medical decisions for each other, he said.
The Cabinet’s proposal to legalize same-sex marriage through a special law contradicts the will of the public, Tseng said, before calling on the Ministry of Education to respond to the passage of Referendum No. 11, which calls for a halt to the inclusion of homosexuality in gender equality education.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), who attended the news conference, said that Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li’s (許宗力) comments that referendums do not supersede the Constitution held 7 million people in contempt.
Hsu is not qualified to be the president of the Judicial Yuan and the government should respect the will of the people, Lai said, adding: “Referendums are not opinion polls.”
In related news, the perception that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) stance on same-sex marriage was partly to blame for its rout in last week’s elections has reportedly put pressure on the party’s most prominent proponents of legalization, lawmakers Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and Yu Mei-nu (尤美女).
When asked to respond, Tuan said that even if the referendums oblige the Cabinet to propose legalizing marriage equality via a special law, the Council of Grand Justice’s Interpretation No. 748 remains the law.
“If we renege on our support for marriage equality when the rainbow flags flew, our opposition to nuclear power during marches and our ideal of rectifying our national name… then what is the point of the DPP?” Tuan asked.
“If we conceded, there would be no difference between the KMT and us,” he said. “We will become simply another political party with a different color scheme.”
The interpretation delivered on May 24 last year ruled that the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional and contradicts the principle of equal protection under the law.
Asked to comment, Yu said the referendums have been “immensely harmful” to young LGBT people.
“Since the vote, nine gay people have died from suicide, two have attempted to commit suicide and 23 people have reported being bullied,” she said. “Taiwanese society should stop this crazy rampage.”
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that party members should put aside their personal views and follow the party’s consensus.
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