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Taiwan marriage equality groups protest outside legislature

Taiwan marriage equality groups protest outside legislature

More than forty marriage equality and civil rights groups gathered outside the Taiwanese legislature in Taipei this morning calling on lawmakers to pass a marriage equality bill they say has been deliberately set aside.

They also announced a larger protest that will see 99 civil rights groups surround the Legislative Yuan when it reopens on October 5.

The executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), Victoria Hsu, said the bill had taken three years of research and planning but had been shelved by Chinese Nationalist Party legislator Liao Cheng-ching.

The bill was proposed by Democratic Progressive Party legislator Cheng Li-chiun in October last year. After its first reading, the bill was passed to the judiciary committee where it has languised for the last 10 months.

Liao, co-chair of the committee, said his constituents do not want him to put the bill on the agenda and has refused to meet with marriage equality groups.

Hsu, who is a member of his constituency, called his actions ‘undemocratic.’

Activists fear that if the bill is not passed in three legislative sessions (one-and-a-half years) they will have to propose the bill all over again.

The TAPCPR has made 112 padlocks for the October protest with each of the legislator’s names on them. They have sent keys to the legislators and hope they will ‘unlock’ homophobia by unlocking their padlock on their first day back at the legislature.

The marriage equality bill proposes 81 amendments to the civil code and if passed would make Taiwan the first place in the region to legalize gay marriage.

Thirty legislators support the bill, compared with about 20 who oppose it. The remaining half have not disclosed their positions.