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Taiwan opposition to same-sex marriage

TAIPEI (UCAN): The Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference in Taiwan issued a statement expressing the opposition of the Church to a bill that would allow same-sex marriage and asked the people of the island state to pray and fast for the cause.

“The amendments to the civil law will overturn the traditional monogamous marriage system, resulting in changes in the appellation of parents and grandparents, family ethics and moral values. Its impact on family morality and social order is huge,” the bishops say.

“The bill has not been thoroughly discussed in society. There are shortcomings in the amendment procedure while the consequences have not been carefully assessed. Pushing it hastily might lead to more complicated social problems,” they add.

Taiwan has long been on the forefront of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) equality rights in Asia with some 80,000 people attending a gay pride event in October. But not all sections of society are happy.

About 20,000 people, mostly Christians, protested in front of the legislative Yuan on November 17 as the same-sex marriage bill entered its second reading. They were angry that the bill was tabled in the Yuan without forewarning.

They were also irked at the president, Tsai Ing-wen, who reportedly told some members of the Yuan that “she had never heard of any opposition against same-sex marriage from the Church.”

The protest, organised by Taiwan Family, an amalgamation of different pressure groups, demanded 30 public hearings and a referendum.

Members of the Yuan were forced to suspend the second reading of the bill, but they only agreed to two public hearings, one on November 24 and the other on November 28, prior to a restart of the procedural meeting of the Judicial and Legal Committee.

They also noted that there have been a number of public hearings on the same topic in the past years.

All eight bishops in seven dioceses in Taiwan signed the statement on November 22. They declared they have the duty to safeguard morality and uphold Church teaching.

The bishops also appealed to all parishes to encourage Catholics to hold adoration of the Eucharist and fast and pray for the marriage system, state policy and well-being of people.

On November 22, a group of young Catholics initiated a survey, asking young people to share their views on same-sex marriage. However, the organiser refused to disclose the result, noting that it is for the bishops’ internal reference.

Taiwanese-Canadian commentator, Gloria Hu, dismissed charges of immorality in an article published in Thinking Taiwan, claiming, “Ultraconservative groups (like the International House of Prayer) seek to foist their morality on others, on issues ranging from family structure to the content of school curricula and access to contraceptive measures.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” but adds that, gay persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

Marriage between same-sex couples is not legally recognised in Taiwan and LGBT advocates say legal recognition of same-sex couples is necessary to enjoy rights such as property inheritance and hospital visitation afforded to a spouse.

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