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Gay Marriage Legalization
Factions Clash as Marriage Equality Law Tabled

Last week, as legislators reviewed the Marriage Equality Law, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photos: cw

As the Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee reviewed the Marriage Equality Act bill last week, Kuomintang (KMT) legislators commandeered the chairman’s podium and filibustered their way into two agreements with the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) caucus: that both parties will hold separate hearings on the matter, and that all revisions to the bill would be reviewed in committee before the conclusion of the current legislative session, with no further procedural interference permitted.

The emphatic shouts of groups opposing marriage equality outside the legislative chambers where the bill was being reviewed, along with the crushing disappointment and anger of LGBT groups upon learning of the outcome, set the stage for a confrontation of opposing values.

“Uphold traditional family values! Oppose legislative railroading!” Early on the morning of November 17, groups opposing gay marriage including Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family (護家盟)
and the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance (下一代幸福聯盟) rallied thousands of people together along Jinan Road outside the Legislative Yuan. Dressed in white T-shirts, they raised signs in protest reading “Marriage and Family, Let the People Decide.” A few young students and some families with children could be seen among their ranks.

The protestors were mobilized mainly by Christian groups due to their belief that passage of the act would erode traditional family values. Three versions of the bill were submitted for review. In a departure from the established application of the Civic Code exclusively to heterosexual marriages, the Partial Revision to Articles of the Civic Code Pertaining to Family Relations, sponsored by DPP legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and endorsed by 48 legislators, stresses equal application of the code across same-sex and heterosexual marriages, as well as the rights of and responsibilities to the children involved.

In addition, the proposed bill dictates that parties entering into an adoption may not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Respecting Differences

Following skirmishes both inside and outside the legislative chambers, the bill did not reach a qualitative reading.

Despite the appearance of going back to the drawing board, at no time in Taiwanese history has

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