(Photo credit: Hannah Fazio)
Taiwan is positioned to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. In recent months, the marriage debate has drawn tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of marriage equality into the streets to protest their respective views. On December 26, in a historic win for the pro-marriage equality camp, an amended version of the marriage equality bill proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-Nu was accepted by the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee to enter a next stage of discussions. This was a critical step allowing the bill to move forward to cross-party negotiations and then to second and third legislative readings, necessary steps for a bill to become a law.
On February 18, 2017 President Tsai met with marriage equality proponents and opponents at the Presidential Office. On her official twitter feed, President Tsai wrote, “Today I met with reps from both sides of same sex marriage issue. Resolving differences is a start — more dialogue & understanding needed.” Many marriage equality activists have criticized her for taking a neutral position.
今年2月18日，蔡總統在總統府會見了支持和反對婚姻平權的多位代表。在官方推特上，蔡總統寫道：「今天我與婚姻平權議題的正、反代表見了面。解決分歧是一個開始 - 需要更多的對話和理解。」許多婚姻平權社運人士對蔡總統的中立立場提出批評。
In recent weeks, although the Legislative Yuan originally announced that it would continue discussing marriage legislation in April, the Executive Yuan revealed that the Constitutional Court plans to hold public debates on two marriage equality petitions at the end of March. Debates will be broadcast live on March 24 of this year and will decide whether the court will inhibit same-sex marriage based on a constitutional interpretation on the Civil Code, Part IV, Chapter II. According to the Secretary General of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, Chien Chih-Chieh, “Depending on the social atmosphere, either legislative or judicial legalization is possible at this point, and greater visibility and discussion will make it more likely that one route or the other will succeed…”
As the date of the constitutional hearings draws closer, opponents of same-sex marriage gathered outside of the Legislative Yuan this past Sunday, March 5. The protesters, who refer to themselves as the Baby’s Breath Layman Alliance, wore white shirts and held bouquets of white flowers while they protested against same-sex marriage, homosexual education, and providing National Health Insurance to foreigners with HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, this past Thursday, March 9, a group of protesters organized by the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of the Family gathered outside of the Judicial Yuan to protest same-sex marriage and the upcoming Constitutional Court deliberations.
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(Translation: Alexis Goh; Editing: Cat Jensen, Elyse Mark and Nicky Kwong)