aiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party has at last put forward a long-awaited draft law to allow same-sex marriage on the island in a historic proposal which appears to try to placate both sides in the contentious debate over marriage equality.
Back in May 2017, the Council of Grand Justices in Taipei ruled that not granting marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional, ordering that legislation be adopted within the next two years to enshrine marriage equality into law, but without actually specifying how this action should take place.
While the DPP dragged their collective feet, conservative groups refused to give up the fight, leading to voters approving a (non-binding) referendum in November opposing changing the wording in Taiwan’s Civil Code that marriage is between “a man and a woman.”
The draft law proposed on Thursday attempts to adhere to both the court decision and the referendum by not altering the Civil Code and instead introducing new legislation which would allow two same-sex “parties” to be married and enjoy similar rights to heterosexual couples.
These rights would include inheritance and medical rights, however, most significantly, adoption rights would appear to be restricted only to the biological children of one of the partners. In addition, there is no mention of a pathway to citizenship for international same-sex spouses.
While some have complained about the proposal’s lack of full equality, most gay marriage activists seem on the whole ecstatic about the draft law.
“This is a huge step forward for marriage equality in Taiwan,” said Annie Huang, Amnesty International’s Taiwan director. “The draft law is the first of its kind in Asia to allow same-sex marriage. It sends a strong message to the Taiwanese people and the world that Taiwan chooses love over hate, and equality over discrimination.”
Meanwhile, conservative groups have quickly come out against the proposal arguing that it defies the wishes of the people according to last year’s referendum. “If same-sex marriage is legalized, so should group marriage, bigamy, fetishism, pedophilia, and incest,” declaredthe Family Alliance.
In order for the draft law to take effect it must be passed by Taiwan’s parliament where the DPP still holds a majority. Considering the pace of events, it’s likely that this vote won’t happen until right before the May 24th deadline set by the court.