Taiwanese leader plans to legalise gay marriage
October 2, 2003
TAIPEI — Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Thursday repeated his plan to
abolish the death penalty and legalize marriage between
Chen told a Danish parliamentarian delegation, "Taiwan wants to
be founded on the basis of human rights. I hope that Taiwan's human
rights standards can catch up with that of the world as soon as
Chen said Taiwan has drafted the "Human Rights Basic Law", which
covers abolishing the death penalty and legalizing gay marriage.
But he did not say when the Human Rights Basic Law would be
Since becoming president in 2000, Chen - a defence lawyer for
political dissidents during Taiwan's martial law years - has vowed
to improve Taiwan's human rights record. He appointed Vice
President Lu Hsiu-lien to head the Human Rights Consultative
Committee under the Presidential Office.
Abolishing the death penalty and legalizing gay marriage are two
controversial issues faced by Chen's administration.
Public opinion polls show 70 per cent of Taiwanese want the
death penalty to stay, but human rights activists insist abolishing
capital punishment is a world trend.
Taiwan's constitution states marriage is between a man and a
woman, so the parliament would have to amend it if it wants to
launch the Human Rights Basic Law and legalize gay marriage.
In 2000, Chen received two U.S. human rights activists attending
the annual Taipei Gay Carnival, and told them homosexuals must
fight for their rights.
Taiwan has one gay bookstore, one gay publishing house and
dozens of gay rights organizations.
But Taiwan gays still complain about discrimination in schools
and jobs, and occasional police raids on gay bars, saunas and parks
frequented by homosexuals. –Sapa-DPA
Couple arrested in China for running gay prostitution bar
Gay unions will remain banned in China