The China Post news staff / June 1, 2016, 12:11 am TWN / Source
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said on Monday that he supports the enactment of a new same-sex companion law instead of revising the Civil Law to legalize same-sex marriage.
Chiu made the remarks when attending the Judiciary and Organic Laws & Statutes Committee session of the Legislative Yuan.
The minister said that President Tsai Ing-wen has actively advocated for the parity of pluralistic values, his ministry will soon join forces with the Legislature to study and evaluate the impact on local society of enacting the same-sex companion law, before mapping out the new law.
The minister also asserted that amending the Civil Law to legalize same-sex marriage is comparatively more complicated than introducing a new law to grant legal protection to same-sex couples.
But Hsu Hsiu-wen (許秀雯), chief executive of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (台灣伴侶權益推動聯盟), voiced her opposition to Chiu's proposal of introducing a same-sex companion bill, saying that to do so would be "segregative" as opposite-sex marriage is protected by the Civil Law while same-sex marriage would be covered by another law.
Real Meaning of Marriage Equality
"The true meaning of marriage equality is to allow opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples to enjoy the same legal protection under the same law," Hsu stressed.
Hsu questioned the Minister Chiu's determination to promote marriage equality. She said that amending the Civil Law or enacting a new bill to legalize same-sex marriage involves the same degree of complexity in fixing related issues. "The former may be easier to carry out, as what has to be done in this regard is just to drop the 'gender' requirements set in the Civil Law to make same-sex couples eligible for the same legal protections as granted to opposite-sex spouses," Hsu stressed.
Accordingly, Hsu said Chiu's remarks sound more like an excuse to cover up the ministry's lack of determination to push for marriage equality.
Meanwhile, a ranking official at the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association (台灣同志諮詢熱線) opined that Chiu's statement on marriage equality differs little from his predecessor Luo Ying-shay's remarks on the same subject. "We feel that the Ministry of Justice is just evading the issue. Safeguarding the interests of disadvantaged groups shouldn't be determined on the basis of social consensus," the official lamented.
"If a new bill is enacted for same-sex companionship, we're worried that part of the legal interests may be ruled out or omitted in the legislation process. So we support the amendment of the Civil Law to legalize same-sex marriage to safeguard lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights," the officials stressed.