27.05.2019 Author: Vladimir Terehov

Taiwan Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage


On 17 May, Taiwan’s Parliament (the Legislative Yuan) passed a law legalizing same-sex marriages. This happened a week before the deadline, set by the Supreme Court (which functions as a Constitutional Court on the island) in its ruling of 24 May 2017 to be enacted into law, expired.

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to adopt a law of this nature, a point emphasized in fairly short news items published by those media outlets in the region that deemed it necessary to report on this event. We would also like to add that using the word “country” to describe Taiwan’s global status is in itself controversial.

There is a fairly simple explanation as to why this particular development was not accompanied by ongoing and rousing reports (not only in “conservative” Asia but also in “progressive” Europe or the USA), i.e. behavior characteristic of those who protect rights of various minorities and animals. In fact, the same-sex legislation, adopted by Taiwan’s Parliament, goes directly against people’s wishes (which are, everywhere in the world, considered to be the ultimate authority) expressed on election day in Taiwan, i.e. 24 November of last year.

At the time, along with the scheduled municipal elections, the leadership of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also held a referendum on 10 unresolved issues, which included a question to probe people’s views on legalizing same-sex marriages.

As expected, the public clearly expressed its opposition to such legislation. Incidentally, the DPP also suffered a devastating loss on that fateful day, despite its triumph only two years earlier during the presidential and Legislative Yuan elections, when the party won 68 out of 113 available seats and its leader Tsai Ing-wen became the nation’s President.

The outcomes of 24 November 2018 gave Tsai Ing-wen, who resigned from her post as the DPP head due to the defeat in the aforementioned election, as well as the party leadership food for some serious thought. So what is to be done with the Supreme court decision on legalizing same-sex marriages? There have been no further public discussions about this issue for fairly obvious reasons. At any rate, the author of this article is yet to come across any signs of such conversations.

However, there must have been an intense debate on the format and the key stipulations of the future legislation, but such discussions were most likely sealed off from the public and took place within narrow circles. The author of this article was surprised to learn that this subject was still on Taiwan’s current political agenda during his daily perusal of news items published in Japan.

It is almost inevitable that adopting the previously mentioned law would have negative consequences for the standing of the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen during the upcoming presidential and Legislative Yuan elections, scheduled for the end of next year. But we would like to reiterate that, in this case, they had no other options but to go against the will of the people.

From an official point of view, they were simply abiding by the ruling made by the Supreme Court of Taiwan, but in reality, quite influential international forces are behind this decision. And a country with such a controversial status on the global stage simply cannot afford to ignore them.

The author does not have any desire whatsoever to take part in any types of discussions on the nature of the previously mentioned “forces” of influence. In this particular case, it would suffice to affirm, first of all, their existence, and secondly, their strange aims discernable from their actions. It seems that these objectives are not set on the basis of politics or economics, but instead some fairly strange esoteric way of thinking.

One is left with an impression that several decades ago (some time in the second half of the 1970s), for unknown reasons, the aforementioned “forces” felt the need to rapidly accelerate the pace of “evolution” of culture and civilization. As a result, fundamental worldviews on human nature, on the relationship between the sexes, on family, on relations between children and their parents, and humans and their environment (and animals, in particular), and on social systems (as, for example, “democracy”) are being turned on their head.

It was important for some reason to bridge fundamental differences between men and women, to equate children’s rights to those of their parents, and to remove the insurmountable border between human beings and animals by assigning the latter group rights, formulated over the course of evolution of human society.

Information campaigns on issues connected to various “violations” of different “rights” are coming in waves. It turns out that the word “democracy” does not refer to the power of the people (a literary interpretation) but to protection of various minorities and even dogs from the populace. There is almost complete silence in response to yet another incident when a child gets mauled by a pack of dogs, but a frenzy ensues after a case of animal “abuse”.

What of Taiwan when the previously mentioned forces are even making life impossible for leading world players. For instance, for a number of years now Japan has become one of the key targets of attacks by supporters of gender equality. All of this is happening at a time when the potential for a nation-wide catastrophe is more and more real for Japan. The impending crisis stems from lower birth rates, a rise in divorce rates among young couples, and an increasing number of people who refuse to marry someone of the opposite gender.

In the meantime, various (most often, foreign) adherents of “gender equality” are not really concerned about this pressing national issue, a key to resolving which may actually be a woman.  Outside observers looking in primarily take issue with the number of women in leadership roles (in the government and private sectors), and with lack of sufficient efforts to stem sexual harassment (despite difficulties in defining what this is) in workplaces in Japan.

The World Assembly for Women (WAW) primarily focused on the issue of “gender equality” during its visit to Japan in October 2017. It is worth mentioning that, by and large, the WAW delegation gave a positive assessment (with certain caveats, i.e. areas that still require work) of the gender-related situation in the nation.

In the meantime, in Japan itself, measures aimed at ensuring “further progress”, taken by Japan’s government and parliament (the National Diet) have been met less than enthusiastically. Surveys conducted in May 2018 showed that the leadership of three fourths of the largest Japanese companies are not keen on adopting any of these measures. There was no particular enthusiasm for increasing the number of women in leadership in Japan. Because only people deserving to occupy such positions, irrespective of gender, are hired, and there is no shortage of intelligent women in top spots. As for harassment in work places, the survey showed that it was not a key issue for senior staff. After all there are more important work-related problems to focus on.

With regards to the number of women in government roles in Japan, poor Shinzo Abe has certainly had his fair share of trouble with “female quotas” in his cabinet. This is probably why Japan’s Prime Minister was barely able to produce a genuine smile for the cameras on the photograph with the ladies from WAW, who are laughing gaily by his side.

Vladimir Terehov, expert on issues in the Asia-Pacific Region has written this article exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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