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Gay marriage amendments pass first legislative reading

2016/11/08 19:34:38

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) Two draft amendments to Taiwan's Civil Code that are aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage passed their first reading at the Legislative Yuan Tuesday.

Clearing a first reading means only that the draft amendments have been announced and then sent to the Legislature's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee for discussion. The amendments still have to pass second and third readings before becoming law.

Before Tuesday's legislative meeting, several lawmakers from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) occupied the podium in the Legislative Yuan to protest against the amendments, but after lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) approached them to communicate, the KMT lawmakers voluntarily left the podium before Vice Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) appeared to preside over the meeting.

One of the amendments that passed a first reading was proposed by DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), while the other was proposed by KMT Legislator Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁).

Both amendments seek to legalize same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children.

Another draft amendment to the Civil Code, which was proposed by the New Power Party, was returned to the Procedure Committee Nov. 1 by the KMT caucus. That amendment is unlikely to clear a first reading until after Nov. 11.

On Tuesday, an association that opposes same-sex marriage protested against the amendments in front of the Legislative Yuan, along with dozens of mothers with young children. The protesters held signs reading "oppose same-sex marriage" and "protect the children, protect education."

The passage of the amendments through the first reading marked the second time that such bills have been sent for review in the Legislative Yuan.

A same-sex marriage bill cleared a first reading in 2013, and was reviewed by the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee in December 2014, marking the first time such a bill had ever been reviewed at the parliamentary level in East Asia.

The bill, however, failed to progress to the second and third readings by late 2015, ahead of legislative elections early this year, meaning that it was automatically invalidated.

(By Christie Chen and Chen Chun-hua)
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