The Long Fight for LGBTQ Rights in Taiwan Continues

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It took Dr. Sun Yat-sen several attempts before he successfully overthrew the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China, and legislation for same-sex marriage in Taiwan has undergone an equally challenging process. A marriage equality bill was first proposed in the legislature in 2005 — 11 years ago. The legislature is still divided: 112 legislators, or almost 38%, have expressed support for same-sex marriage, while just over 40% are undecided.

On Nov. 28, the second public hearing on same-sex marriage was held, where more than 20,000 people gathered to support equal rights and protested against a special law. Earlier that month, tens of thousands of protesters stormed Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan building as lawmakers reviewed bills that would make gay marriage legal.

Amending Laws, Eradicating Discrimination

Opponents to marriage equality proposed enacting a special law for the LGBTQ community, but this requires additional judicial expenditure on legislation, implementation and education related to the new law. Not only that, but this positions the LGBTQ community as “different” and requiring a “special” law — reinforcing the opinions of anti-queer bigots.

Instead, legislator Yu Mei-nu has proposed adding an additional article to the current Civil Law and amending four other articles. This way, the law applies to everyone — instead of creating a “separate but equal” situation.

The LGBTQ community has appealed to President Tsai Ing-wen to honor the promises she had made before the presidential election. Before the election, she tried to earn votes and donations from the LGBTQ community with various measures such as a promotional video and the rainbow metro card. Now that she holds the office, she is expected to actively honor her promises.

Outside the hearing, some Christians were handing out flyers, voicing their opposition to same-sex marriage. Despite this, supporters of same-sex marriage still tried to respond rationally, hoping to collaborate for the sake of human rights. With love and tolerance, supporters tried to show the world they are determined to receive their deserved equal rights.

Hopefully Taiwan will become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage, a true feat.