Businesses have backed marriage equality in Taiwan as the island’s parliament mulls bills to legalize same-sex unions.
Freedom to marry would give greater LGBTI inclusion in Taiwan, 15 businesses have argued.
This would, in turn, promote innovation and social developments, reduce barriers for foreign investment, retain talent, and result in better corporate profitability, they said.
Signatories include Airbnb, Deutsche Bank, Dow, Ernst & Young (EY Taiwan), Google Taiwan, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mastercard, and Microsoft Taiwan.
Taiwan is rushing to legislate same-sex marriage ahead of a 24 May court deadline. But, parliament is still debating the rights afforded by the new law.
Taiwan Country Managing Partner at EY Taiwan, Andrew Fuh, said diverse and inclusive teams enriches the work environment.
‘Leveraging different perspectives fuels innovation, fosters collaboration and strengthens relationships’ he said.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by ManPowerGroup, 78% of Taiwanese employers are experiencing a global talent shortage.
Meanwhile, the Center for Talent Innovation pointed out that 72% of non-LGBT multinational employees said they preferred to work for an LGBT-friendly company.
‘In a globalized society, Taiwan cannot ignore an important opportunity to attract more outstanding talent to seek employment in our country’ Jennifer Lu, the Chief Coordinator of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, said.
Taiwan and same-sex marriage
Taiwan is set to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex unions by May 24.
In February, the government drafted a same-sex marriage bill and passed it to parliament.
But as the details emerged, the government, lawmakers, and activists admitted it fell short of true marriage equality.
The compromise bill comes after a devastating referendum loss in November 2018. Taiwan voters opted for a separate law to legalize same-sex unions rather than to change the Civil Code.
In May 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. It gave a two-year deadline to legislate.
But, following the referendum, conservative groups have been lobbying lawmakers to enact a ‘cohabitation’ or ‘partnership’ law to afford same-sex couples similar rights as marriage.
Taiwan’s opposition party also introduced a same-sex union bill to parliament. LGBTI rights groups and families denounced it as ‘homophobic’.