TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan's Cabinet on Wednesday evening revealed the name as well as the outline of its same-sex marriage draft bill, which is considered as a move to dodge the naming debates between the pro- and anti-gay marriage groups. EqualLove.TW issued a statement the same day to thank the meticulous efforts made by the Executive Yuan.
Taiwan will become the first Asian country which legalizes same-sex marriage, if the bill passes.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) invited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators to discuss a draft of a law to overcome the stalemate and uncertainty following a top court rule in favor of same-sex marriage in 2017 and the referendum results in 2018. The new draft bill, called "The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748," (司法院釋字748號解釋施行法) is the first bill created in the name of the constitutional interpretation on same-sex marriage and is designed to avoid disputes between the two sides of the debate on marriage for same-sex couples.
The bill will legalize the same-sex marriage and entitle the same-sex couples to the rights currently enjoyed by the heterosexual couples according to the Civil Code (民法).
"We can imagine the tremendous pressure facing the Executive Yuan from the organizations that oppose same-sex marriage," the civic group said. "The Cabinet avoids the discriminatory 'same-sex partnership act' and creates a draft whose name can reflect the spirit of the Case 748 made by the country's Grand Justices (大法官748號解釋) in May of 2017."
The grand justices of the Judicial Yuan affirmed the right to equality under Article 7 of the Constitution, and the 11-page long Interpretation provides detailed reasoning concerning the ruling. Although sexual orientation is not listed under Article 7 of the Constitution, it indicates that all citizens are equal before the law "regardless of sex, religion, race, class, or party affiliation," and it does therefore apply to people with different sexual orientation, meaning that they are subject to the protection of equality by law.
EqualLove.TW said that the group visited dozens of legislators after the referendums in which Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage, and they began to realize the tremendous pressure facing the government and legislators imposed by the other side.
The group noted that the perennial systematic exclusion and discrimination has caused many tragedies in the country, where many gay friends were experiencing emotional pain resulting from the false information against them before and after the referendums, and a few of them even took their own life. The group is hoping their humble request of equal respect and treatment can be accepted and has no attempt to disrupt social harmony.
Premier Su later also released a video calling for mutual respect and understanding between the two sides of the debate on marriage for same-sex couples. In the video, Su urged the pros to have patience and faith in the government, while to the cons, to be inclusive to others who are different, and be nice to each other, allowing Taiwan to be an even friendlier and more equitable country.