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DPP submits same-sex relationship bill amendment

2019/05/16 21:12:57

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus Thursday submitted a "motion to amend" the Executive Yuan's draft same-sex relationship bill that removes the term "same-sex marriage" and will be voted on Friday.

The DPP caucus' motion was submitted by DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) during a meeting between 53 party lawmakers and several Cabinet officials, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) and others, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯‧尤達卡) told reporters.

"(The DPP caucus version was proposed) because many groups have fixated on terms such as (same-sex) marriage in the public debates," Kolas said.

"As it seems these knots cannot be untied, we feel it would be better to make minor revisions to related wording if as a result the bill is acceptable to supporters of DPP regional lawmakers, while not affecting the legal right of same-sex couples to register their marriage," she said.

Under the DPP caucus version, the purpose of the legislation -- which is stated in Article 1 -- is partly changed to "in order to implement Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748," compared with the Executive Yuan's version which reads: "To allow two persons of the same gender to create a permanent union of intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together, so as to protect their freedom of marriage and right to equality."

A minor change is also made to Article 2, where the DPP caucus version removed the term "same-sex marriage" in the bill's definition of the type of relationship available to same-sex couples after May 24.

Article 4 is also revised. The DPP caucus version added "to register for marriage" and "in accordance with the spirit of Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748" in describing the process same-sex couples should undergo to get married.

"As the Executive Yuan believes the DPP caucus version does not violate the spirit of Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748, nor the Executive Yuan's draft act, a resolution was made at the meeting expressing the hope that the caucus can act in unity tomorrow (Friday) and jointly back this new version," Kolas said.

At the two-hour meeting, Su made an emotional appeal to DPP lawmakers, asking them how would they respond if their children or grandchildren one day ask them how they voted at such a historic moment, Kolas said.

"Will you be able to tell them you withstood mounting pressure and cast a decisive vote?" Kolas quoted Su as asking, urging DPP lawmakers to "get on the train of reform" on Friday.

Asked whether the DPP caucus would discipline lawmakers who do not toe the party line on Friday's vote, Kolas said no consensus was reached at the meeting and the party caucus will decide how to proceed.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on competing same-sex relationship bills Friday to make such relationships legal before a May 24 deadline set by Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748, which calls for a legislative remedy within two years to guarantee their freedom of marriage and right to equality.

In addition to the Executive Yuan version and DPP caucus amendment, there are two other bills submitted by Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and DPP Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) respectively that are considered less favorable to the gay community.

(By Stacy Hsu)
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