Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Friday said that he had cast invalid votes in 2018 referendums related to legalizing same-sex marriage and same-sex education.
In a Facebook post about his opinions on the referendums, Ko wrote that he had cast invalid votes, but did not specify why they were invalid.
He also wrote that he believes that “basic human rights and universal values should not be decided by majority rule.”
The comments came just before yesterday’s Kaohsiung Pride parade, which echoes Global Pride 2020, a 24-hour livestream event celebrating the LGBTQI community.
In the referendums held on Nov. 24, 2018, five were related to same-sex marriage and gender equality.
Ko was referring to referendum Nos. 14 and No. 15, which both failed to pass.
Referendum No. 14 asked: “Do you agree that the right to marriage of persons of the same sex should be protected by legislation under the chapter on marriage of the Civil Code?” while No. 15 asked: “Do you agree that mandatory education should, as stipulated by the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法), implement gender equality education, which includes emotional, sexual and gay and lesbian education?”
“Issues concerning ‘value’ and ‘human rights’ should not be decided by voting, competing for who are the majority or minority, or who are the winners and losers. There should be better ways to solve conflicts, rather than expand them,” Ko wrote.
The Taipei Department of Civil Affairs in 2017 asked for a constitutional interpretation on the issue of the Civil Code not allowing for the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the Council of Grand Justices in May 2017 ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the Civil Code was unconstitutional, he wrote.
The interpretation also said that the government must amend or enact laws in accordance with the ruling within two years, so the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers should have directly amended the law last year, rather than put the issue to referendums in 2018, Ko said.
“I admit that my understanding of gay, lesbian and gender issues is still too little, but I would firmly support the idea that ‘all people are created equal,’” he wrote, adding that he had invited the LGBT community to visit Taipei for the LGBT Pride parade in late October last year.
However, DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) yesterday on Facebook questioned Ko’s real stance on legalizing same-sex marriage, saying that the mayor has been inconsistent on the nation’s sovereignty and LGBT equality rights.
The Taipei City Government had always been the most gender-friendly local government, but the city government under Ko has ignored LGBT groups’ protests and allowed representatives of anti-LGBT groups to attend the city’s Gender Equality Education Committee meetings, she wrote.
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