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Taiwan legislature debates marriage equality proposal, first in East Asia

Taiwan legislature debates marriage equality proposal, first in East Asia

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A proposed amendment to Taiwan’s Civil Code that aims to legalize same-sex marriage is under debate Monday in a legislative committee, marking the first time that such a bill has ever been reviewed at the parliamentary level in East Asia.

TaiwanCheng Li-chiun, one of the lawmakers who proposed the draft bill, said in the session of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee that it is the Legislature’s responsibility to make changes to discriminatory or unfair laws, reports Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

“No one deserves to be deprived of their rights at birth to be on an equal footing with others just because of their psychological or biological differences,” Cheng said of the current system in Taiwan, which like many other countries only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman.

Under the proposed amendment, the terms “man and woman,” “husband and wife” and “father and mother” in the Civil Code would be changed to the gender-neutral “two parties,” “spouses” and “parents,” respectively.

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In addition to legalizing same-sex marriage, the amendment would allow married, same-sex couples to adopt children.

The measure cleared a first reading last year and sent to committee for discussion. But until Monday, it had been shelved largely due to opposition from religious groups.

Bills must pass three readings in the legislature before being sent to the president for approval.

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