A draft bill to govern same-sex marriage in accordance with the results of referendum No. 12 would be presented to the legislature for review before March 1, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.
The referendum 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?”
Responding to questions by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lin Te-fu (林德福) and Jason Hsu (許毓仁) during a meeting of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) originally said that the draft legislation would be presented before May 24.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
However, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) questioned the time frame, saying that according to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), legislation required by a referendum must be presented to the Legislative Yuan within three months.
Tsai’s original date was chosen based on the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 made on May 24 last year, which states that the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as “the legal union between a man and a woman” violates the guaranteed rights of citizens under the Constitution.
However, the interpretation had not mandated that the administrative branch deliver a proposal before May 24 next year, Yu said.
Should new legislation addressing marriage rights fail to pass before May 24 next year, same-sex couples could register for marriage with signatures from at least two witnesses at household registration offices, Yu said.
The interpretation’s final deadline and the referendum’s legal deadline should both be observed, Tsai said without providing a solution.
In response to Hsu’s question whether human rights could be decided by a referendum, Tsai said that human rights are universal.
Tsai declined to comment on whether allowing referendums on same-sex marriage was a mistake, saying only that the ministry’s goal has always been to protect human rights.
Unitarian Universalist UN Office director Bruce Knotts in his opening address at the International Forum on Freedom and Democracy in Taipei on Monday said that human rights issues should never be put to a vote.
The referendums held on Nov. 24 were comparable to laws passed in Nazi Germany, he added.
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
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