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Same-sex marriage moves forward at Taiwan Legislative Yuan

Third and final reading unlikely before April 9

Same-sex marriage moves to second reading at Legislative Yuan

Same-sex marriage moves to second reading at Legislative Yuan (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A government proposal to legalize same-sex unions moved one step forward at the Legislative Yuan Tuesday, with the next phase in its review likely to occur on April 9 at the earliest.

On May 24, 2017, the Constitutional Court rejected the ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional and set May 24 of this year as the deadline for relevant laws to be passed. What was seen as a historic victory for gay rights in Taiwan received a setback last November 24, when a referendum proposal was approved demanding a separate special law to regulate same-sex unions.

The latest government proposal received legislative approval Tuesday to move on to a second reading, the Central News Agency reported. A total of 59 lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and from the smaller New Power Party voted in favor, while 24 members of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and of the small People First Party voted against. Five DPP legislators abstained, while lawmaker Jason Hsu (許毓仁), generally seen as a rare gay rights supporter within the KMT, remained absent from Tuesday morning’s session, reports said.

The draft bill, officially known as “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No.748,” allows same-sex couples to register marriage or divorce at household registration offices, while also including clauses about adoption, inheritance, medical rights and monogamy, according to CNA.

As legislators have demanded further discussions, the proposal now enters a one-month “cooling-off” period before it can become the focus of debate again to start its third reading, probably on April 9.