Taiwan moves to abolish death penalty, legalise gay unions
October 20, 2003
TAIPEI — Taiwan's government is drafting legislation to abolish the death
penalty and legitimise gay marriages, a cabinet official said
If the laws are approved by parliament, Taiwan would be the
first in Asia to legalise marriages among people of the same sex.
Jointly drafted by the presidential office and the cabinet, the
proposal is designed to protect basic human rights, the official
"More than half of the draft has been completed so far, of which
the gradual removal of death sentence was ratified," he said.
In October 2002, President Chen Shui-bian announced that Taiwan
would gradually phase out capital punishment.
The presidential office said Monday the move to abolish the
death penalty would ensure the right to life to everyone, including
The government is also seeking to legitimise gay marriages and
recognise the right of homosexual couples to adopt children, he
"The human rights of homosexuals have been gradually recognised
by countries around the world," the United Daily News said quoting
the presidential office.
"To protect their rights, people (of the same sex) should have
the right to wed and have a family based on their free will," it
Under existing adoption rules, gays and lesbians are not
considered as prospective parents.
The Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Association hailed the legislation
which its officials described as an act of "goodwill" from the
"It would be our pleasure to see the development. Basically we
are positive towards the goodwill from the government," said Chan
Ming-chou, an official with the association.
However, Chan told AFP that there was still a long way to go
before discrimination against homosexuals ends.
The final draft of the bill is expected to be ready for
parliamentary review in December, the cabinet official said. –Sapa-DPA
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