Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Same-sex law sparks mixed reactions

HISTORIC:While advocates of same-sex marriage lauded the legislation’s passage, those who oppose it said that it contravened the results of last year’s referendum

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance president Tseng Hsien-ying, right, speaks while holding a placard showing last year’s referendum question No. 12 on the right of same-sex couples to create a permanent union by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code at a news conference at National Taiwan University Hospital’s International Convention Center in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Lawmakers in favor of same-sex marriage yesterday hailed the passage of the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法) as a historic moment for the nation, while those who oppose it said it was an example of “a minority bullying the majority.”

Speaking on the legislative floor after the act passed its third reading, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said it was a day that was destined to go down in history.

Thanks to the passage of the act, homosexual people who have long lived with the pain of depression and suppression can finally see the sunshine and rainbow, she said, adding that the need for society to engage in dialogue remained urgent.

She told members of gender minorities to “just be who you are, for everybody deserves to be loved.”

DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said the act embodies the culmination of more than 30 years of work by the gay rights movement in Taiwan and was another milestone for the nation.

“I also want to tell friends who are disappointed at the passage of the same-sex marriage bill not to worry,” she said. “A week from now, you will find that the sun still rises and that all of your fears were unnecessary.”

New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) congratulated homosexual people for the legislation and wished all same-sex couples happy weddings.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Jason Hsu (許毓仁) thanked his fellow KMT lawmakers who supported the act for voting with him.

If he lost his job over how he voted, at least he made the correct decision and represented a “voice of pluralism” in the party, he said.

Concurrently, a group of KMT lawmakers held a news conference outside the legislative chamber to decry the legislation.

The outcome showed that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and the DPP caucus had ignored the result of last year’s Referendum No. 10, KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said.

The referendum, which asked people: “Do you agree that the Civil Code should define marriage as the union between a man and a woman” passed with 7.65 million “yes” votes against 2.9 million “no” votes.

Su had deliberately staged a showdown between the KMT and the DPP at the legislature, which contradicted lawmakers’ job to solve problems, as it had only created more tensions and division, Chiang said.

KMT secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said that the passing of the act was the result of the minority bullying the majority and was “hard to swallow” for the KMT.

Separately, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said it was a day that made Taiwan proud, as it reflected the nation’s benign and commendable values.

Former premier William Lai (賴清德) touted the legislation as a “historic step” for the nation, while Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said his stance on same-sex marriage was to “abide by what has been passed.”

KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the legislation was Asia’s first and should be cherished, adding that people should treat one another with respect.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said it was somewhat regrettable that the legislation had disregarded the “true public opinion” reflected by the referendum, but that he respected the result of lawmakers exercising their power.

Pop diva A-mei (張惠妹) said she cried upon learning of the news, while film director Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮) said: “I have only one thing to say: Taiwan is great.”

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