Taiwanese official says anti-gays shouldn’t be civil servants

Disease prevention boss Shih Wen-yi suggests testing civil service applicants on their stance on homosexuality

Taiwanese official says anti-gays shouldn’t be civil servants
25 August 2012

The first senior official to support same-sex marriage in Taiwan says people should prove that they do not discriminate against gays before they can become officials.

Shih Wen-yi, deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control, believes discriminatory civil servants cannot be of service to fairness and justice, and gays will only witness more unfair treatment.

‘If judges are prejudiced against gays, will they make verdicts unfavorable to gays?’ Shih wrote on his Facebook. ‘If staffers are prejudiced against gays, who can say for sure they won’t hinder gay people’s applications?’

Civil servants, teachers and military servicemen must show that they do not hold any grudges against gays before taking office, Shih suggests.

There can be popular science courses on homosexuality in civil servant training or similar elements in entrance exams to ensure that public employees do not discriminate against or hurt gays.

But while Shih’s vocal support for homosexuality is hailed by many, he revealed during an interview yesterday that he had received a letter by an ex-official, calling him ‘not to use his public office to promote for gays.’

The ex-official, a medical practitioner according to Shih, also contends that ‘Taiwan is a country built on ethics and gays arose only in such places as jails where men and women could not freely go out with each other.

‘Homosexuality is against proper human relations and morality.’

While acknowledging that people should have freedom of speech, Shih says intellectuals should not express such discriminatory and hateful remarks.

In a move that has been written off by some for being too trivial, the Department of Civil Affairs of Taipei revealed on Wednesday (22 Aug) that it is considering making the definition of ‘dependents’ more inclusive, so that gay couples can join its sponsored activities and travel together.

At a conference on protection for same-sex couples, Commissioner Huang Lu Ching-Ju admitted gay partners seldom qualify for fringe benefits for ’employees and dependents’, and they cannot sign authorization forms for medical operation on their partners’ behalf.

As many neighborhood activities sponsored by the DCA are currently open only to spouses or lineal relatives, Mrs Huang noted the city is thinking of making the term ‘dependents’ less restrictive.

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