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Religious groups warn against 'diverse' family bill

2013/09/07 21:59:41

Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) Buddhist and Christian representatives and the leader of the Unification Church in Taiwan warned on Saturday against a bill to be sent to the Legislature that would legalize various forms of civil partnerships, including same-sex marriage.

The bill was drafted by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, which pushes recognition of civil partnership rights for all couples, irrespective of gender.

The amendments to the civil code also call for legal recognition of the rights of a group of more than two people to form a family whose members are not related by blood.

Members of several religious groups expressed their opposition to the bill Saturday, saying at a press conference in Taipei that it would be detrimental to "traditional family values."

Buddhist Master Shih Ching-yao said that while he respects same-sex couples, he also hopes they respect the traditional family value of the union of one man and one woman.

The union of one man and woman is nature's rule, Shih said in arguing against passage of the proposed legislation.

Chen Chih-hung, a pastor, said he worried that legalization of same-sex marriage would worsen the decline of Taiwan's birthrate and contribute to sexual promiscuity by the younger generation.

Chang Chuan-feng, head of the Unification Church Taiwan, echoed Chen's view, urging the government not to pass a bill that he contended would encourage promiscuity in Taiwan.

Chien Chih-chieh, secretary-general of the alliance, responded that non-traditional family forms are an international trend and have been in existence in Taiwan for years, and she said the government should safeguard their rights through the legislation.

She also dismissed the association between same-sex relationships and AIDS, saying the prevention of the viral disease lies in preventing unsafe sexual behavior rather than discouraging gay relationships.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Scully Hsiao)