Same-sex marriage legislation


What’s the turnout threshold?


Interesting, just looked at Wikipedia and it says that the there were some referenda put forward by the DPP butthe KMT boycotted them. It says there is a 50 per cent threshold, but they never reached it. Sounds like a dodgy path alright.


According to a 2015 Taipei Times piece by Lii Wen, here are the conditions laid out in Taiwan’s Referendum Act:

Currently, referendums can be launched by members of the general public through a process that involves two successive petitions, a first-phase petition that requires the support of 0.5 percent of the electorate, followed by a second-phase petition that requires signatures from 5 percent.

As there are about 18 million eligible voters in the nation, the two successive petitions currently require about 90,000 and 900,000 signatures respectively.

A 50 percent turnout of eligible voters is also required for a referendum to be declared legitimate, a threshold which critics say is almost unattainable.

With these conditions, I don’t think a single referendum in Taiwan has passed–even those concerning casinos in Penghu, where the authorities, in an attempt to game the system and push things through, cut the 50 percent turnout requirement.



I really hope people would stop bringing up referendum on this topic.

Human rights issues should not be decided by popular votes, it’s that simple. We don’t even have to go that far, just imagine if you and your SO’s marriage were to be approved by the family members of yours and hers through a secret ballot. How would you like it?

The only reason why Ireland had to hold a referendum to legalise gay marriage is that their Constitution prohibited same-sex marriage, and according to their Constitution, amendments require referenda. There’s a reason why no other country has ever done that and why Australia rejected it because public are not allowed to decide on whom anyone wants to marry.


But what you say about the Irish constitution is not actually true. It did not talk about or prohibit same sex marriage. In fact it did not reference gender at all. You can see the original text of the Irish constitution here:

As for what the public are, or are not allowed to do, that depends on context really doesn’t it.


Human rights should not be subject to vote. They should be guaranteed by virtue of being human rights.

Imagine if there was a referendum to jail left-handed people, and there was currently a wave of irrational anti-left-hander sentiment sweeping the country.


Oh I’ve seen the anguish of a left handed child here forced to learn calligraphy with his right hand Chris. Completely different argument and nothing to do with same sex marriage.

Of course I would be happy to see same sex marriage legalized here, there will be opposition, but I think Taiwan will lean towards legalizing.


[quote=“Mick, post:47, topic:85358, full:true”]
Oh I’ve seen the anguish of a left handed child here forced to learn calligraphy with his right hand Chris. Completely different argument and nothing to do with same sex marriage.[/quote]
My example was just a hypothetical demonstrating why referenda on whether to curtail human rights are just not on.


Marriage is not and never has been a human “right”. It is simply a legal institution. If you have a bunch of people stranded on a desert island, none of them have a “right” to get married because no judiciary exists to grant them that right. Of course, they could form an ad-hoc judiciary and write out marriage licenses on bits of banana leaves, but hopefully that illustrates the absurdity of the whole thing. They’re already at liberty to form relationships of whatever kind they like with whomever they like; formalising marriage constrains their liberty rather than adding to it.

I wish people would stop blithering about rights. There’s no such thing. Your rights stop where the government’s gun barrel begins.


Zappone & Anor -v- Revenue Commissioners & Ors [2006] IEHC 404 (also known as the KAL Case) was a High Court case which was one of the first major events in the debate on the recognition of same-sex marriage in Ireland. The plaintiffs Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone unsuccessfully sought recognition of their Canadian marriage.
The case helped prompt the civil registration and civil partnerships act, as well as the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland which allowed for the Marriage Act 2015.
The case was heard from 3 to 13 October 2006 and the judgment was delivered on 14 December 2006. Ms. Justice Dunne found that although a “living document”, the Constitution of Ireland had always meant for marriage to be between a man and a woman, that the definitions used in the Civil Registration Act of 2004 was an expression of the current attitudes of the state and that she could find no reason to change that.


In Loving v. Virginia, it is expressly defined as a legal right.


In article 12 of the European Charter of Human Rights and article 9 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well.

They are at liberty to form relationships of whatever kind…just not marriage. It’s none of other people’s business if you don’t want to get married, likewise it’s none of your business if lots of people want to get married.

The reality is that there are practical (regarding properties, inheritance, adoption, and medicine) and sentimental values to marriage, and depriving people of these is fucking pathetic and infuriating.

In a place where right exists, in case such thing happens, the family can sue the state, so technically rights don’t stop where the government’s gun barrel begins.

And if following this logic, we should all go nuns and monks. Nothing matters anyways since everything vanishes once you die, what’s the point of living?


It’s a convention. Do you think that the government should have arbitrary power over everyone, potentially to be exercised at the point of a gun barrel at any time? Or are there places where we can agree that any government should not have that power?


Your point being?


By that logic the universal declaration on human rights would not have been passed by the United Nations.


Yes, only the privileged few in positions of power - like Ms Justice Dunne - should be allowed to decide on what peoples rights are.


Well, they’re wrong. This could be why countries like China take the piss out of The West over these issues. As tempogain said, using the word “right” is just a convention. If someone decides to beat you up and take your stuff, hollering that he’s violating your human rights is unlikely to have any practical effect.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it would be more logical to frame these things in terms of responsibilities towards others. A person does not have a right to air, food and water, but society at large may not deprive him of those things (eg., by polluting the air, proscribing what he may grow on his land, or misappropriating the water supply). He does not have the right to education, but others may not prevent him from becoming educated.

Here’s the problem: when you frame these things as rights, the implicit assumption is that it’s the government’s job to provide them (or, if not the government, a State surrogate). Thus Americans in some locations can be legally prevented from raising their own food in gardens or collecting rainwater from their roof (google it). Until recently it was illegal to homeschool your children.

Anyone is at liberty to hire a Priest of Scientology, print a marriage licence off the Internets, and hey presto, they’ve got themselves a wedding. British Common Law originally recognized any such union as a marriage. The bottom line is that if you tell other people you’re married, you’re married. It doesn’t really matter what the government thinks.

They are at liberty to form relationships of whatever kind…just not marriage.[/quote]
But ‘marriage’ is not a relationship. Living together as husband and wife (or husband and husband) is a relationship. The government rubber stamp is a complete irrelevance. I agree that it’s not my business if people want the government to pat them on the back and say, well done, here’s your gold marriage certificate; I’m just saying it’s a prime example of a First World Problem.

The reality is that there are practical (regarding properties, inheritance, adoption, and medicine) and sentimental values to marriage, and depriving people of these is fucking pathetic and infuriating.[/quote]
You’ve got your logic backwards. If property inheritance law says that a man may pass on property only to a wife who is duly registered with the State, it’s the inheritance law needs fixing, not the marriage law. However, I don’t think that’s even the case; if a man wants to will his property to his spouse (male or female), there’s no law that prevents him. There is no law preventing someone from holding a wedding.

Adoption is a whole different issue because you are talking about the rights of the adopted child, not the rights of the adult couple. Nobody, male, female, married or otherwise, has a “right” to adopt a kid like they’re getting a puppy from the pound.

Look, all laws are basically arbitrary and marriage laws are no different. It is not legal, in Taiwan, to marry your sister, a 14-year-old, or a water buffalo. At various times and places, these things have been (or still are) perfectly legal or even encouraged. When they’re discouraged, it’s either for a very good practical reason (eg., inbreeding) or because some other law is incompatible. That’s what’s happening here, with the examples you mention.

Note for the hard-of-thinking: I’m not arguing that a homosexual marriage is the same as marrying a water buffalo.

um, no. I was saying the exact opposite: if one already has the rights under discussion, why would we need the government to ring-fence it?

Of course not. But what I think should be, and what is, are two very different things. The reality is that you have a “right” to not be arbitrarily imprisoned only because the government has better things to do. Some governments have trouble finding alternative amusement and therefore imprison people arbitrarily. It passes the time. Talking of rights here is utterly meaningless because the supposed right is so tenuous; it can be violated on a whim.

What you are all arguing for here, IMO, is assigning powers to the State that it should not have. You are asserting that a relationship is only valid if the government says that it is.


I don’t think I am. I’m making an argument that rights exist. Whether governments violate them from time to time, or whether it is in their power to violate them, is immaterial to that point.


What falls within the scope of “right” in terms of literary or jurisprudential sense is so not what this issue is about. Yes hollering against an assault won’t get you anywhere, that’s exactly why there’s the saying of ubi jus ibi remedium. You have a chance to be remedied, that’s what right is about.

So yes, marriage can be spiritual, if you think you’re married, you’re married, you can say you’re married to yourself or to your country or to a bathtub rubber duck, but that facade of marraige is not what the controversy of marriage equality is about.

I guess that depends on everyone’s definition of a relationship. To me marriage is a relationship that involves administrative bureaucracy.
And first world problems are still problems.

The bill is exactly aiming to change that. You can claim that marriage is about just two people, and yes in a sense it is only about two people who want to spend their lives together, but the cold, harsh reality is that marriage involves a bunch of unromantic stuff including properties, insurance, inheritance, medical decisions, and financial support etc. They are not directly marriage law, but they are related, some countries do not deprive these minorities of these practices, and we are trying to join that club. The term “marriage equality” is about these objective equal treatments, not your subjective reference.

And yes adoption is about the children’s well-being, and no one, single or coupled, straight or gay, has the right to accept a kid as if it were a dog, but straight couples have the chance to adopt kids jointly and become their parents, while gay couples are completely deprived of that chance. That’s what this “right” is about, it’s about the chance to be even considered.

That the reason why Ireland had to hold a referendum to legalise gay marraige is that they had to amend their Constitution? Isn’t that obvious?

Judges rendering decisions is not about the judges themselves, it’s about the authority of the Judiciary. Yes their personal opinions would reflect on their judgments, sometimes judges could be total idiots (that’s why there’s appeal and judicial review), and everybody knows that it’s by no means a perfect institution, but there’s no better alternatives.


I really, really, really hope that Taiwan legalizes marriage between same sex couples. We have gay marriage here in Norway, and the sky didn’t fall down when it happened. All that happened was that things got better for gay people here, some children of same sex couples got better legal rights, and a few religious nuts got a little upset.

I hope that by the next time I visit Taiwan,hopefully before Taipei Pride 2017, gays and lesbians will have the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.