Taipei Times / By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter
Members of eight gay rights groups gathered outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday to announce preliminary results of a candidate survey showing that legislative candidates from major parties lag behind “third force” party candidates in support of same-sex marriage legislation, urging the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to “come out” in favor of marriage equality.
“All district and legislator-at-large candidates from the Free Taiwan Party (FTP), New Power Party (NPP), Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance and Trees Party have already returned pledges,” Taiwan (SDP) Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔) said. “There are still 10 days before the deadline for returning pledges and we hope that more candidates will join.”
Last week activists sent out more than 500 pledge forms to legislative candidates using contact information provided when registering with the Central Election Commission, calling for candidates to promise to serve as a sponsor or cosponsor of same-sex marriage legislation if elected, she said.
Pledges from the four parties legislative candidates made up 65 of the 83 pledges activists have received, compared with nine pledges from DPP candidates and only one from a KMT candidate, she said.
“Given that your presidential candidates have already adopted a friendly attitude toward marriage equality, we hope the political parties can take a stance,” she said, adding that party caucus leadership had been a major obstacle to pushing through bills this legislative session.
“When individual legislators push [for same sex marriage legislation], their own party does not support them and caucus leadership cuts them off or even puts obstacles in their way,” she said.
Promises to sponsor or cosponsor legislation are important because many legislators said they support gay rights, but “pass the buck” on supporting same-sex marriage legislation, citing a lack of “social consensus,” she said.
Activists said that sponsoring legislation was an important step toward building “social consensus.”
“Today you say that ‘there is a lot of societal controversy’ — but are you willing to move the dialogue forward?” said Wu Hsu-liang (巫緒樑) the administrative director of the activist group GB Studio.