Gender News in Taiwan
2017.05.29
Marriage Deadline, Method Unsure: Cabinet

【By Chen Wei-han / Staff reporter】

The Cabinet has no conception or deadline for the legalization of same-sex marriage, which would involve a set of legal revisions regarding marital property rights, inheritance and parenthood, the Executive Yuan said yesterday.

In a landmark ruling, the Council of Grand Justices on Wednesday ruled in favor of allowing same-sex couples to register for marriage and asked the legislature to amend the law within two years to protect the rights of gay people.

The Cabinet has yet to call inter-ministerial meetings about the issue, and no conclusion has been made on whether an amendment to the Civil Code or a new law would be preferable for its legalization, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said.

The Cabinet would put forward a proposal that is “of least impact” after reviewing all possibilities, he said.

Asked whether the branch could reach a decision on either a special law or Civil Code amendment in a proposed extraordinary legislative session starting next month, Hsu said it would depend on the progress of the Cabinet’s review of related laws.

A draft proposal might be submitted to the Legislative Yuan in the next session at the earliest, but it might wait longer,” he said.

“The legislative work could definitely be finished in two years,” he added.

“It might involve [an overhaul of] the marital property system, including divorce issues and parental issues that involve the Genetic Health Act and the Artificial Reproduction Act,” in addition to inheritance and gift tax rules, he said.

The ruling might also involve a debate about decriminalizing adultery, as the idea of same-sex marriage runs counter to the Criminal Code’s definition of adultery, which is a crime committed by a man and a woman, he said.

Very few nations still penalize adultery, and the only Asian nations where adultery is criminalized are Taiwan, South Korea and some Muslim nations in the Middle East, Hsu said, adding that the Executive Yuan has no preconceived ideas on the issue.

Meanwhile, at apparent odds with the Cabinet, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi-kang urged a swift legislation process, preferably in the extraordinary legislative session.

While calling for the Executive Yuan to submit its own legislation as soon as possible, Tuan questioned the necessity of its involvement in the issue.

“Further delay is not welcome. Conflicts would persist, and the differences between supporters and opponents would remain unsettled,” he said.

[Taipei Times, 2017-05-26]

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