Cabinet rolls out draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan Cabinet on Feb. 20 released a draft bill that will serve as the basis for same-sex marriages after conservative groups scored a victory last year in a referendum against any amendments to the Civil Code to allow legalization of gay unions.

Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said the draft bill covers issues such as inheritance rights, medical rights, adoption of children, and monogamy.

It also details penalties for adultery and bigamy, Kolas said, adding that there are people who are spreading false information that legalizing same-sex marriages will promote the idea of polygamy, bestiality and sexual promiscuity.

The draft bill, officially called “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748,” is the first in Taiwan to be named after a constitutional interpretation, and was so named to avoid causing disputes between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, she said, citing a consensus reached between the Cabinet and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.

The bill was drafted in line with a Constitutional Court ruling on May 24, 2017, which stated that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Kolas said.

In addition, following the results of the Nov. 24, 2018 referendum, the Cabinet decided not to amend the Civil Code but to create a special separate draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage, she said.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the historic bill is expected to be enacted by May 24. The Cabinet is scheduled to approve the draft bill on Thursday, before submitting the draft bill to the Legislature for review.

By Ku Chuan and William Yen