Gay rights coalition launches campaign for legalizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan

In 2017, a constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry legally, but the legislative process has since been stalled

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(Photo courtesy of 婚姻平權大平台)

(Photo courtesy of 婚姻平權大平台)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A gay rights coalition set up a billboard advertisement right across from the Executive Yuan offices, calling for legalizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan.

The country’s constitutional court on May 24, 2017 ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry legally, and called on the Legislative Yuan to amend the marriage laws to allow for same-sex marriage within two years.

Regardless whether the amendments are implemented or not, gay couples should be permitted to have their unions registered as marriages after two years, according to the ruling.

The coalition, formed by five gay rights and women’s rights groups, said in a statement that the advertisement served to remind the government leaders, particularly President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier William Lai (賴清德), of the fact that Taiwan had still not legalized gay marriage and that gay couples continued to be deprived of the rights heterosexual married couples would normally enjoy.

The advertisement portrays two women each holding an infant in their arms, with the slogans “We are both mothers of the children” and “How long do we have to wait for equal rights to marry?”

The coalition emphasized even though the constitutional court had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, gay couples would still be left without legal protection so long as the legislative process remained stalled.

In addition, the coalition fears that the anti-gay marriage camp may push for a referendum on the issue; a result in their favor would then impact future legislation.

Without directly mentioning legislation related to same-sex marriage, President Tsai said last December that the government needed to take diverse opinions across Taiwanese society into consideration.

The president also said the government would continue carrying out reforms at a steady pace, even though young people might think the government's progress was slow or inadequate.

While the media presumes the government will refrain from proposing the amendment draft until the end of the local elections in November, gay rights groups continue to attempt to persuade the Tsai administration to be more proactive on the issue rather than simply waiting until May 2019 for the two-year to pass.