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Civic group to seek referendum on gay marriage

2017/05/25 19:54:22

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) A group opposed to same-sex marriage said Thursday in Taipei that it will initiate two referendum proposals on the issue, following a Constitutional Court ruling the previous day that paved the way for the legalization of gay marriage in Taiwan.

In its ruling Wednesday, the court said the Civil Code provisions that do not allow marriage between two persons of the same sex are unconstitutional and it asked the Legislature to amend the relevant laws within two years to ensure everyone's rights to marriage, freedom and equality.

However, the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance said major issues such marriage and family values should not be decided by a few "judicial elites" but rather should be put to a national referendum.

The alliance said it will start the procedure to seek two referendums, one on the definition of marriage and the other on the inclusion of same-sex topics in the curriculum at the K-9 level in schools.

Under Taiwan law, a referendum proposal first has to be signed by at least 0.5 percent of the eligible voters in the most recent presidential election, which puts the threshold at about 94,000 signatures at this time.

In the next step, the proposal has to be approved by a ministerial-level Referendum Review Committee then signed by at least 5 percent of the electorate before it could be put to a referendum.

According to the Social Democratic Party, the Constitutional Court ruling is binding on the government and people and cannot be put to a referendum.

The referendum proposal shows that the group has no idea how the Constitution works, the party was cited as saying on the news site New Talk.

It advised that anti-gay marriage groups stay calm, listen to the opinions of other people and learn to respect others.

In 2016, a referendum proposal on "protection of family" was rejected by the Referendum Review Committee.

The committee said the proposal did not adhere to the Referendum Act, because the issue was not a law, legislative principle, important policy or amendment to the Constitution.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Kuo Chung-han)
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