President to meet groups for, against same-sex marriage: official
Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will meet with civic groups that support same-sex marriage, as well those that oppose it, possibly in the later part of January, the Presidential Office said Monday.
Spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) reiterated the stance of the Presidential Office, noting that "everyone who expresses different views (on the issue) is our countryman."
Rationality must be maintained in any communication and exchanges of views, he said, and the Presidential Office would like to see society having more dialogue and tolerance in order that better laws can be formulated.
Asked about the timing of the meetings, Huang said that Tsai will be busy from now until early next year, so they could take place "in the later part of January."
The president is scheduled to visit four of Taiwan's diplomatic allies -- Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala -- in the first part of January.
Civic groups opposed to same-sex marriage gathered outside the Legislature Monday as lawmakers screened an amendment to the Civil Code that would legalize same-sex marriage.
After the lawmakers passed the initial screening that the rights and obligations of marriage between heterosexual couples be applied to same-sex couples, moving another step toward legalizing same-sex marriage, the civic groups said they would fight to the end.
They later moved to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office to stage a sit-in protest, and also shouted for a meeting with Tsai.
Sixteen representatives of the groups later went into the Presidential Office and met with Liu Chien-hsin (劉建忻), acting secretary-general of the Presidential Office, and Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), legislative caucus whip of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Liu promised them that he would arrange an appropriate time for them to meet Tsai.
"The president will naturally arrange a time to listen to different views," Huang said.
Ker said that the bill cannot be dealt with in the current legislative session, which will end soon, so it will have to wait until the next legislative session, which will open in February.
He said that the bill passed Monday, as well as other related proposed bills, will be submitted for cross-party consultations, which are expected to take place in late April or early May at the earliest.
(By Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)ENDITEM/J
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