Taiwan: Executive Yuan’s Draft Bill on Gay Marriage Falls Far Short of Marriage Equality Hopes High

THE EXECUTIVE YUAN has finally released its draft bill on legalization for same-sex unions. Apart from the Executive Yuan releasing the text of the bill earlier today, premier Su Tseng-chang released a video touting the bill as realizing marriage equality yesterday, stating that while members of the LGBTQ community have historically faced discrimination and many members of society have historically held prejudiced views towards them, the bill is in the interests of social equality and progress. The “Implementing Judicial Interpretation No. 748 Bill”, will now go to the Legislative Yuan for discussion, the bill being a response to Judicial Interpretation No. 748 from the Council of Grand Justices ruling in May 2017 that same-sex marriages needed to be legalized in Taiwan within two years.

Nevertheless, it would be hasty to conclude that the bill realizes full “marriage equality,” as Su and the Executive Yuan claims it does. For one, the bill will legalize same-sex unions through adding a separate law to the Civil Code, rather than changing the existing text of the Civil Code. The legalization of same-sex unions through the addition of a separate law rather than changing existing laws has generally been understood as civil partnerships rather full marriage equality in the Taiwanese context. Su stated that the reasons for this use of a separate law were because of the need to respect the results of the referendum on gay marriage held in November last year alongside nine-in-one elections, which resulted in the Taiwanese electorate voting down gay marriage.

But while the draft bill will grant gay couples the right to marry, as well as rights to inheritance and hospital visits, they will lack other rights that heterosexual couples currently have. For one, gay couples will not be allowed to jointly adopt children unless they are the biological children of one of the members of the couple. More than likely, this will lead to circumstances in which one member of a gay couple will adopt a child, but not both. Taiwan currently has no surrogate mother system and the new law will not make any provisions for this. Read more via New Bloom