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Association of Taiwan Journalists announces its support for equal marriage

ATJ declared today that it opposes the contents of referendums 10, 11, and 12, while backing 14 and 15.

LGBT rights activists calling for progress on same-sex marriage.

LGBT rights activists calling for progress on same-sex marriage. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) has come out in support of equal marriage by declaring today (Nov. 14) that it opposes the contents of referendums 10, 11, and 12, while backing referendums 14 and 15.

With specific regards to referendum 10, ATJ said that anyone wishing to enter the pact of marriage should be able to choose their own spouse, yet proposal 10 advocates for this fundamental right to be taken away from citizens in same-sex relationships. The association expressed it does not agree with the claim that marriage should only be between two people with different sets of genitals.

ATJ also said that, due to the proven fact that limiting knowledge is an effective way of encouraging discrimination, it backs referendum 15 and opposes 11. The organization said it works to help eliminate discrimination rather than promote it, and allowing students access to more knowledge will help towards absolving discriminatory behavior.

Referendums 10, 11, and 12 were initiated by the anti-gay fundamentalist group Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, who are seeking support for restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, and preventing authorities from diversifying gender education in schools. The group’s three proposals each hit the threshold for public vote in late August.

Referendums 14 and 15, on the other hand, were initiated by Equal Love Taiwan and appeal for equal marriage rights and more LGBTQ-inclusive classroom curricula. The two initiatives reached the necessary benchmark for public vote back in early October.

Regarding referendum 12, which stipulates same-sex couples should be conferred a separate process and title for marital unions, ATJ pointed out the current lack of laws that distinguish basic rights based on gender. The association commented there are no laws that separately target the basic rights of men and women, and therefore there is no reason to think creating separate laws for same-sex couples is appropriate.

The group expressed uneasiness at the fact that the “basic human rights” of certain groups were being put up to the public vote in the first place, but nonetheless, stressed the importance of citizens using their vote on Nov. 24.

In May this year, ATJ also engaged in a protest after the UN refused to accredit Taiwanese reporters to attend the 71st World Health Assembly. Many local and international media outlets spoke up on the issue. Reporters Without Borders called the decision “unacceptable discrimination” and a contradiction to the right to freedom of information enshrined in the UN Human Rights Declaration.

ATJ said it must express the same intensity of opposition, as it did then, against those seeking to deny basic human rights to the LGBTQ community. In both incidences, a fundamental ideology the association assiduously supports is being challenged.

The association recommends voters read the contents of each referendum carefully before voting on Nov. 24. It also suggests citizens visit the Taiwan FactCheck Center website to verify whether any stories regarding the referendums have been classified as fake news before coming to a decision.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists was founded in 1995 after the news that ownership of the non-partisan Independence Post was being transferred to KMT officials hit the public. Since then, the organization has continued to convene executive meetings on policy matters, organize protests regarding journalistic freedoms, and support reporters, editors and freelance writers that depend on news work for their livelihood.

Updated : 2022-01-22 19:35 GMT+08:00