Taiwan KMT delays introduction of counter same-sex marriage bill

29 legislators have signed a draft by marriage equality opponents

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A same-sex marriage supporter holds a rainbow flag with Taiwan map during rally in Taipei.

A same-sex marriage supporter holds a rainbow flag with Taiwan map during rally in Taipei. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite pleas from marriage equality opposition group Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, Kuomintang legislators will not introduce a draft bill that would see same-sex unions defined as non-marital during Tuesday’s legislative session.

The group called on the KMT caucus at the Legislative Yuan Monday to help put the proposal into action. Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) told CNA the party would not yet be introducing the bill as it has not been viewed by enough of the caucus, and opinions on same-sex marriage differ among members.

CNA reports the bill is still likely to make it to parliament on March 12, but not necessarily under the name of the party caucus.

Mirror Media on Saturday reported 29 legislators have signed a counteractive draft bill entitled “The Enforcement Act of Referendum No. 12.” The act would restrict the use of words such as “marriage” and "spouse" to opposite-sex couples, and raise the age of marital consent between same-sex partners to 20.

Signatories include 20 KMT party members and six Democratic Progressive Party members, alongside an independent legislator, a People First Party representative, and an as-of-yet unidentified legislator from Changhua County (彰化縣).

PFP legislator Lee Hung-Chun (李鴻鈞) on Monday called for the Executive Yuan to redact its proposal for legalizing same-sex marriage and urge the Constitutional Court judge who gave the landmark 2017 ruling to clarify his interpretation, CNA reports. The Executive Yuan’s bill, known as The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, is due to be read at the Procedure Committee on Tuesday.

Lee said though the title of the bill is neutral, neither the pro nor anti-equality camps appear to be satisfied. The government must clarify whether the Constitutional Court ruling or the referendum takes precedence, he expressed, and if it ignores the public will there is no need for future referendums.

Among challenges from opponents, there have also been voices of support for marriage equality prior to Tuesday's session. Canadian diplomat Michael McCulloch described Taiwan’s progress on introducing a same-sex marriage bill as “a win for the people of the world."