Taiwan Church News
November 21 - 27, 2016
Over Tens of Thousands People Demonstrate Against Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage
Reported by Lin Yi-yin
As the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee of the Legislative Yuan is going to to pass the second reading of the amendment of article 972 of Civil Code, mainly to legalize a same-sex marriage and its related children adoption procedures, over tens of thousands people rallied at Qingdao Road bordering the Legislative Yuan to express their strongest opposition on November 17.
Over 300 pastors of the Christian Church Alliance from Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pintung, including Rev Chen Ming-chi(Vice Moderator of PCT General Assembly), Rev Chang Hsien-Chueh(Associate Secretary of PCT GA), Rev Lo Ren-quei(former Moderator of PCT GA), Rev Chen Chi-chung(Moderator of So-shan Presbytery), Rev Li Chung-wei(Moderator of Kaohsiung Presbytery), Rev Chuang Chi-chien(Moderator of Cha-yi Presbytery), local church pastors from Tayal, Southern Bunun, and Tainan Presbyteries, and many church leaders across denominations, led their church members to join this rally, organized by the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family.
Under the pressure of these protesting crowds, mainly Christians, the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee finally stepped back and agreed to hold two public hearings on November 24 and 28 separately, before an article-by-article review to be commenced on November 30 and December 1.
As the amendment of article 972 of Civil Code will enter its third reading and complete its legislation in the grand assembly of Legislative Yuan on December 6, according to a legislative due process, two protesting rallies against such legalization of same-sex marriage are still scheduled to be held on November 30 and December 1, in spite of two public hearings was hardly won after a political strife.
Except there will be a big assembly against legislation of same-sex marriage on December 3 at Katagalan Boulevard, many protesting rallies will also be held at Kaohsiung, Tainan, and other cities at the same day.
The Christian Church Alliance from Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pintung strongly insisted, during their visit of DPP and KMT caucuses, "as changing the definition of marriage, stipulated traditionally as one man and one woman, is absolutely not the consensus of current Taiwan society, the amendment of Civil Code need not be settled at present moment." In the meantime, evidenced in the rulings from European courts, same-sex marriage is not yet approved as a basic human right, these pastors reminded.
As a matter of fact, in the night on November 21, Mr Ko Chien-ming, majority leader in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, had met privately with President Tsai Ing-wen proposing to stand for a special law, Same-Sex Couple Act, to solve the conundrums of same-sex marriage yet keep the Civil Code intact to avoid a devastating political clash. But Ko's proposal has not gained a consensus within the ruling DPP party.
In a congressional interrogation, Minister Chiu Tai-san of the Ministry of Justice expressed that he would submit a Same-Sex Couple Act to the congress before the end of February in 2017 to meet Taiwan's demands and pace contemporary international practices. Among 23 global countries, in which the same-sex marriage is legalized, there are 21 countries adopting a type of gradual legalization in a same spirit to his Same-Sex Couple Act, said Minister Chiu.
On the other hand, Minister Chiu added, the amendment of Civil Code could not be simplified as a job to change several words in article 972 only. As a consequence of such Civil Code amendment, there will be 112 administrative orders and 356 legal stipulations required to be modified, remarked Minister Chiu.
Translated by Peter Wolfe
Over tens of thousands people, mainly Christians, demonstrated against legalizing same-sex marriage before the Legislative Yuan on 17 November, 2016.
Photo by Lin Yi-yin