Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Good news: Gay marriage closer to realization in Taiwan

The old supports of an old railroad bridge, now a bike path, outside Shihgang. The supports were moved out and left in the river, and the new ones slid under to take their place.

It's kinda hard to believe, but Taiwan's embrace of LGBT issues, including appointing a transgendered person to digital minister, is going to lead the island to become Asia's first country in which gay marriage is legalized. WaPo reports:
In October, lawmakers from Taiwan's new ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party, introduced a bill that would eliminate gender from the national constitution's definition of marriage, opening it to any two people. Taiwan's new president, Tsai Ing-wen, has vocally supported marriage equality in the past, and recent polls show that almost three-quarters of the Taiwanese people favor marriage equality.

The turning point, however, may have come by way of tragedy. On Oct. 16, a French professor who had lived in Taiwan for decades fell 10 stories to his death in what his friends said was probably a suicide. They said Jacques Picoux, who was 67, had fallen into a deep depression after cancer took the life of his partner of many years. Because of Taiwan's current laws, Picoux was not able to take part in crucial medical decisions during his partner's final moments and afterward could not legally claim the property the two had shared.
Taiwan Law Blog has observed that the Ministry of Justice wants some kind of weaker civil union. as the excerpt below notes, and the language of the law tends in that direction. The Executive Yuan came out this week in support of gay marriage:
There have been some delays and changes regarding the proposal of the same-sex civil partnership law on the Justice Ministry's part, Chen added, but it is expected that the ministry will expedite action on the matter as the Executive Yuan's Gender Equality Committee has made clear of their position on the subject.
Sabra Yen has a detailed piece on Taiwan's path to gay marriage at Ketagalan media.

While loud but toothless opposition from the 14th century continues, more importantly, DPP legislators from the central and south are said to be opposed to the measure. However, as one of the media pieces above reports, a majority supports it.

It will also be good for the Adminstration to realize one of its political promises...
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Matt Stone said...

Reading the piece by Lee I-chia, it seems the 14th century opposition is made up of the same groups as in other countries

Hopefully Taiwan can move forward on this. Aside from the merits of changing the law, it would really help put Taiwan on the map as a progressive society.

As a basic human rights issue, it would throw Taiwanese society into sharp contrast with not just China – but also with most other Asian countries.

And some Western ones. For example, here in Australia, the government tried to set up a hugely expensive, non-binding plebiscite on the issue, which has recently become stuck in a political quagmire.

Tommy said...

Taiwan govt desperately needs good PR advice on this. They could position the country as a real global trendsetter if they put their feed right. It would tie Taiwan in with liberal values movements while positioning Taiwan as a destination for gay and lesbian travelers (spenders).

Matt Stone said...

Surprisingly, perhaps, even on the Mainland, there seems to be a fair bit of tolerance, assuming this Wikipedia article is reasonably accurate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_China

Vietnam has also made some progress in this area, apparently.

Contrast this with Malaysia, where the former opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is doing five years in prison for the crime of 'sodomy', most likely under trumped up charges.