TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The review of same-sex marriage proposals at the Legislative Yuan has been scheduled for December 26 amid protests by supporters and proponents of changes.
Taiwan has long been named as the Asian country most likely to be the first to legalize marriages between persons of the same sex, but the push to approve the necessary legislation has become mired in dispute.
Proposals first floundered during the previous Legislature, but after President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party won last January’s elections by a significant margin, it was thought momentum would soon build again. It only did so however after the death of a retired French lecturer, most likely a suicide out of sadness for his deceased gay partner.
The latest attempts to pass the legislation were met with strong opposition and protests by the opponents of same-sex marriage, often religious groups. They succeeded in having the Legislative Yuan schedule two extra public hearings on the subject.
With the hearings now over, the Legislature has decided to reschedule the review for December 26, almost a month away. A new dispute has erupted however between the legislators in favor of simply amending existing laws and those who want a completely new law.
Last week, the top DPP lawmaker, Ker Chien-ming, said he favored a new law, which provoked criticism from the supporters of same-sex marriage and has even led to a signature campaign to recall him. Other DPP legislators however, said they disagreed with Ker’s views.
He criticized the three existing proposals, which originated with Yu Mei-nu of the DPP, Jason Hsu of the Kuomintang, and with the New Power Party, as too simplistic in their beliefs that it was enough to amend five laws to introduce same-sex marriage. Because of those differences, the DPP would not present a version of its own, Ker said.
A recent opinion poll showed an equilibrium between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.