OPINION: Why Taiwan Should be the First Country in Asia to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

OPINION: Why Taiwan Should be the First Country in Asia to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

It is ‘imperative’ to pass the same-sex marriage law during this parliamentary session, writes Jason Hsu, Kuomintang legislator-at-large.

Since I took office in February as a legislator-at-large, I have made a commitment to pass a same-sex marriage bill. I believe Taiwan, as a democratic society, represents progressive thinking in this regard. I understand, in the past, the LGBT issue has often be used on the political agenda to divide the public opinion. Taiwan’s election cycle is quite fast – we hold general elections once every two years. Therefore, it is imperative to pass the same-sex marriage during this parliamentary session.

I made a speech in the Legislative Yuan on Oct. 25, urging the parliament to pass a bill enabling same-sex marriage. The speech went viral on the Internet. I called on Taiwan to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. On Oct. 27, I submitted my own version of the bill, amending Civil Law Article 972 and 973 to give same-sex married couples equal rights on “family and inheritance.” I do not believe in creating a provisional law that singles out the LGBT community, for it is important to have an equal footing for same-sex and different-sex groups.

My bill garnered 17 legislators’ signatures, along with Democratic Progressive Party legislator Yu Mei-nu’s (尤美女) and the New Power Party’s versions. Close to half of legislative body supports passing of the same-sex marriage bill. The Kuomintang Caucus, which I belong to, allows its legislators to independently show their support without official party endorsement.

I believe this is a big step forward as a progressive society to move coherently for diversity in sexual orientation and human rights. I also believe this is a show of multi-partisan efforts ensuring Taiwan moves forward with this issue.

As a legislator, I uphold the value whereby laws are made to ensure all peoples’ rights be included and protected. On Nov. 17, the bills will be sent to Committee of Law and Justice for general discussion. We have one last mile to go. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: Olivia Yang