Taiwan Is Set To Be The First Asian Country To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

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Taiwan Is Set To Be The First Asian Country To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Taiwan's LGBT community marched during Taiwan Pride. Image from @foodbaby / Instagram

Same-sex marriage is a sensitive topic, especially in conservative societies like South East Asia. But, Taiwan has become the first Asian country to create a same-sex marriage bill.

The country’s cabinet discussed the legislation earlier this week before sending to the parliament for review on the same day, cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

The bill is “Interpretation and Enforcement of Act No. 748 of the Court,” and was created to follow a 217 court ruling mandating the parliament to legalize marriage equality.

The parliament has a deadline: May 24, 2019. If no law is passed at the deadline, same-sex couples in Taiwan will become the first in Asia to be legally allowed to marry. The parliament is expected to pass a law by May, ahead of the said deadline.

SU TSENG-CHANG SUPPORTS THD BILL

Premier Su Tseng-chang, who is in charge of Taiwan’s cabinet, posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday, February 20, to express his support for the bill and for LGBT+ rights in general.

In the post, the premier, who was appointed last month, said that homosexuality was “natural, not a disease, not contagious—and it is not possible to make heterosexual people gay.”

He encouraged the parliament to expedite the passing of the bill and called on everyone in Taiwan to accept each other amid differences.

“I also want to say to fellow countrymen, whether you are heterosexual or gay: we are all in the same country, all together live on this land, all in the same heavens and the earth,” he added.

“I sincerely expect everyone to be inclusive, accept differences and treat each other well. Make Taiwan a country of mutual respect and friendliness.”

THE MOVE IS PUSHING THRU AMID REFERENDUM RESULTS

This move of Taiwan’s highest court is very controversial because it goes against the voice of the people.

In November of last year, 72 percent of voters backed a ban on marriage equality in a referendum triggered by a public petition process.

READY 4 REPEAL: Taiwan Pride marchers call for the repeal of the referendum against same-sex marriage. Image from @superplussizemodelshawn / Instagram

However, after a few days, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lu Tai-lang clarified that referendums are guides for lawmakers but they cannot be used to overturn a high court ruling.

Premier Tseng-chang, in his Facebook post, acknowledged the results of the referendum saying that the parliament “must respect the results of the referendum,” the court’s decision took precedence.

“The Executive House, as the highest administrative organ of the country, must be in accordance with the law,” he said.

“It is more necessary to comply with the interpretation of the law of the court.”

Image from @foodbaby / Instagram

Furthermore, on Facebook on Wednesday, the country’s President Tsai Ing-wen wrote that “there may be different views on same-sex marriage: people of different generations, different religious beliefs, different values, but in the protection of rights, society gradually has basic consensus.”

“The focus of the current stage is on what legal form to guarantee. I believe that the executive council will treat the interpretation of the judge and the results of the referendum with wisdom,” the president added. /apr

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