Canadian diplomat and LGBT+ advocate Michael McCulloch told CNA Taiwan’s move to legalize gay marriage, via a newly submitted draft bill, is a global victory – but a challenge from opponents of same-sex marriage has emerged within Taiwan’s legislature.

McCulloch, who is the director of general relations at the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei – Canada’s de facto embassy in Taiwan – called the draft legislation “a win for the people of the world,” comparing Taiwan’s long fight to legalize same-sex marriage to the process Canada went through between 2003 and 2005, when the North American country passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

However, Mirror Media reported on Mar. 2 that groups opposed to marriage equality plan to propose legislation, titled “The Enforcement Act of Referendum No. 12,” that would define same-sex unions as non-marital relationships and limit such unions to citizens who are at least 20 years old. The draft bill is backed by 29 legislators, Mirror Media reports.


Credit: AP / Chiang Ying-ying

The fight for marriage equality in Taiwan still has plenty of hurdles to clear.

Referendum No. 12, which voters approved in November 2018, read: “Do you agree to types of unions, other than those stated in the marriage regulations in the Civil Code, to protect the rights of same-sex couples who live together permanently?”

The draft bill proposed on Feb. 21 by Taiwan’s cabinet, titled “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748” in reference to a May 2017 high court decision to protect same-sex marriages, does not alter Taiwan’s Civil Code, in theory complying with both the court ruling and the November 2018 referendum results.

However, groups opposed to same-sex marriage are sure to continue their fight until the bitter end.

Other news from Taiwan:

► Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to share its experience with the world as a victim of Chinese belligerence, citing malfeasance from Beijing such as buying off politicians and spreading “fake news.” (CNA)

► Taiwan’s Coast Guard has arrested a Philippine suspect accused of killing crewmates aboard a Taiwanese fishing vessel. A search for six Filipino and Indonesian crew members who remain missing after jumping overboard may be called off as 72 hours have passed, according to the Coast Guard. (Taipei Times)

► A couple from Singapore is being investigated by authorities in Taiwan for allegedly dumping the body of a baby in Taipei in a recycling bin. (Straits Times)

► Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) says a June 2017 tobacco tax hike has proven unpopular with the public and believes the government should act on the matter. (CNA)

► An investigation by the Chinese-language Liberty Times has revealed that most convenience store products claiming to contain fresh strawberries contain additives and no actual fruit. (Taipei Times)

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Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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