No penalty for same-sex vote: KMT’s Wu

By Chen Yun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Sun, May 19, 2019 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said that party lawmakers who on Friday voted to support legislation to allow same-sex marriage should not be penalized if the party caucus had not arrived at a definitive resolution regarding the issue.

Most lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and a few from the KMT voted to pass a Cabinet-sponsored bill that gives gay couples marriage rights.

The 27-article bill, titled Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法), is to take effect on Friday, making Taiwan the first Asian nation to allow same-sex marriage.

Prior to voting on Friday, the KMT caucus had called on its lawmakers not to support the Cabinet’s version of the bill, although it did not employ party discipline.

Seven KMT legislators — Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), Jason Hsu (許毓仁), Arthur Chen (陳宜民), Lin Yi-hua (林奕華), Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) and Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) — had supported Article 4 of the act, which stipulates that after signing a certificate, two people of the same sex may register their marriage at a household registration office.

The seven have been criticized by party supporters.

Wu said that supporting or voting against same-sex marriage are morally valid positions and lawmakers should vote according to their values.

“I trust that the [party’s] Disciplinary Committee would handle the matter with equality and propriety,” he said.

However, Wu criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government for ignoring referendum results from last year, when 7.65 million voters on Nov. 24 supported retaining the Civil Code definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The spirit of referendums should be respected, which is an important part of the Constitution, he said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should reflect upon her handling of the issue, he added.

Opponents of gay marriage said that they did not rule out seeking a referendum on the new law.

Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩), president of the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, said that the bill put “party interest before public opinion.”

This is a bill no one but President Tsai wanted, Tseng said.

Tsai forced DPP lawmakers, who have a majority in the legislature, to vote for it, he said.

Tsai is only interested in clearing the path for her re-election next year and marriage equality was one of her political platforms in her 2016 campaign, Tseng said.

No one would complain if today’s bill promoted a “same-sex couple law” or “common living law,” but instead it endows same-sex couples with the right to register as married, he said.

Tseng said he would vigorously campaign against Tsai and the lawmakers who supported the bill, promising to target the presidential and legislative elections slated for Jan. 11.