Former vice president Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) call for the government to hit the brakes on amending the Civil Code for the sake of “an extremely small minority with a different sexual orientation” has drawn fire, with critics saying it showed a poor understanding of democracy.
Wu, a candidate in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) chairperson election on May 20, made the comments on Tuesday during a visit to several military dependents’ villages in Taoyuan’s Yangmei (楊梅), Jhongli (中壢) and Gueishan (龜山) districts.
When a supporter in Jhongli stopped him and urged him to pay more attention to the issue of same-sex marriage, Wu said that society needs to show respect to people who have a different sexual orientation by giving them space, but he does not support amending the Civil Code just for this minority.
Photo: Chen Yun, Taipei Times
The nation can work on legislating a specific act regulating same-sex marriages, he said, adding that amending the Civil Code would disrupt the lives of the majority and an ethical order that has been in place for centuries.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration should halt the proposed legislation immediately, he said.
Wu’s remarks drew a sharp reaction from Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明), a professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature.
Chen said on Facebook yesterday that what Wu said showed that he was absolutely clueless about democracy.
“He is basically still living in the martial law era. The core concepts of democracy and human rights are equality and justice, not separating people,” he said.
“The nation has had three changes in government, but the KMT does not seem to have changed its ideas about politics and still thinks that government is meant to serve those with vested interests,” Chen said.
“Wu wants to halt the proposed legislation on same-sex marriages; what he does not know is that people have already stopped believing in the KMT. Should the party continue to promote its own vested interests, it would never become the ruling party again,” he said.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) on Tuesday said that while the office understands Wu’s needs to talk about issues for his campaign, he should seek to understand the matter first before saying anything.
Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy director Lu Yen-rong (呂嬿融) also disagreed with Wu, saying that homosexuals have the fundamental right to form their own families even though they are few in number.
“A majority of the people in this country believe in equality and justice, and they would not easily disregard the interests of the very few,” Lu said.
On the other hand, Alliance for the Happiness of Future Generations spokesperson Tseng Hsieh-ying (曾獻瑩) said that although the group believes in the protection of each person’s rights, one should consider the impact on children when discussing changing the definition of marriage.
She said that the government needs to conduct a full evaluation on the possibility of amending the Civil Code and then hold a referendum to allow the majority to make the final decision.
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