Taiwan’s legislature has held its first official hearings on whether or not to legalise gay marriage, in a major step towards becoming the first Asian territory to approve marriage equality.
The [proposed legislation] changes only articles 972, 973 and 980 of the Civil Code, altering the words from ‘male’ and ‘female’ to gender-neutral language.
But Hsu Li-ying, from the Judicial Yuan’s (Supreme Court) Juvenile and Family Department, said the new legislation ‘may need to be more comprehensive’.
Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang told them that it wasn’t just the Civil Code that would have to change, but also laws regarding parentage, taxes or health insurance. That meant that the Justice Ministry couldn’t do it alone, he said.
Meanwhile Chen Wei-lien, director of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Legal Affairs, suggested they would invite a scholar specializing in the Civil Code to look at Taiwanese attitudes to same-sex marriage early next year.
A poll in September by United Daily News showed 55% approval of gay marriage laws with only 37% against.
Legislators were forced into taking quick action on the matter by the Judicial Yuan (Taiwan’s constitutional court), which is due to hear the case of Chen Ching-hsueh and Kao Chih-wei, two men who are seeking legal recognition of their marriage.
In October, tens of thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets of Taipei for the city’s 10th annual gay pride parade.