Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Firms see marriage equality benefits

Thomson Reuters Foundation, LONDON

LGBT rights supporters parade through Tainan on April 13.

Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times

Some of the world’s largest companies on Wednesday said that plans to grant equal marriage to LGBT couples in Taiwan would boost the country’s economy.

The Legislative Yuan is expected to vote on bills concerning same-sex marriage by May 24, a deadline set by the Council of Grand Justices when it ruled in 2017 that same-sex couples could legally wed.

Google, Airbnb, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Mastercard and Microsoft have joined forces with nine other companies, including Taiwan-based O-Bank, to laud the benefits of same-sex weddings.

“We value diversity, inclusivity, respect, equality and non-discrimination, as well as seek to protect these values within our company and while working with our business partners,” Microsoft Taiwan enterprise public lead Patrick Pan (潘先國) said.

“We do so not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it can make our company and society stronger and more successful,” Pan said.

Economists have said that the benefits of same-sex marriage include increased productivity, greater labor mobility and less stress in the workplace over perceived discrimination.

According to 2016 research from Swiss bank Credit Suisse, the performance of a basket of 270 companies that supported LGBT policies was on average 3 percent higher than that of the MSCI All Country World Index, which measures global stock movements.

Taiwan is set to become the first country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage following a 2017 ruling by the council that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the Civil Code was unconstitutional.

However, a referendum on whether to support the legalization of same-sex marriage through amendments to the Civil Code was defeated in November last year.

Under the council’s terms, lawmakers have until May 24 to pass legislation that would allow same-sex couples to wed.

If the Legislative Yuan fails to act, same-sex marriage would automatically become legal.

“Leveraging different perspectives fuels innovation, fosters collaboration and strengthens relationships,” said Andrew Fuh (傅文芳), managing partner for Ernst & Young, Taiwan. “This is why we believe that each of us has a role to play in advancing diversity and inclusion.”

The Legislative Yuan is considering two bills offering couples differing rights ahead of the May 24 deadline.

Passing marriage equality would send a message to the world that “Taiwan is open for business,” Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan chief coordinator Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said.

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