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Taiwan launches online polls on same-sex marriage, adultery

2015/08/09 20:51:39

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has launched online polls on controversial issues related to marriage, including that of same-sex marriage, to gauge public opinion on plans being drafted or policies being carried out.

Among the questions are: "Do you support establishing a 'Same-sex Partnership Act'?", "Do you support legislation that gives homosexuals the right to have 'marriage-like' or 'marital' relations?", and "Should adultery be decriminalized?"

Each issue on the platform at http://join.gov.tw/openup/ is open for discussion for three months, with Internet users welcome to vote in favor of or against a certain policy.

Same-sex marriage has been a hot topic pushed by local supporters of the idea since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states of the country.

That may be why the question "Do you support establishing a 'Same-sex Partnership Act'?" has drawn the most interest of all of the topics, drawing tens of thousands of votes and many comments since being posted on the government platform on Aug. 3.

As of Sunday, 22,510 respondents (75 percent) have voted in favor of the idea, and 7,325 (25 percent) have voted against it.

On the much-debated issue, the MOJ has said it is inclined to draft a so-called "civil union act" aimed at protecting the rights of homosexuals, but it has not ruled out the possibility of drafting a law that directly allows same-sex marriage.

As for the decriminalization of adultery, more than 10,000 people have weighed in on whether Article 239 of the Criminal Code should be withdrawn since the question was posted on May 14, with 9,106 respondents (86 percent) saying no and 1,533 (14 percent) replying yes.

The article stipulates that a married person who commits adultery shall be sentenced to less than one year in jail, and the other offending party shall be subject to the same punishment.

A respondent who opposed decriminalizing the offense named Hsieh Chun-chin (謝浚墐) said many Taiwanese women have long put up with unfair treatment during married life, and if they are deprived of the "only weapon" they have, most people in the country will not approve it.

Another respondent who approved withdrawing the law, identified as "c," said because marriage is defined as a civil contract, it should be handled as a civil affair whenever such a contract is broken.

(By Peggy Tsai and Elizabeth Hsu)
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