A year ago, I attended Kansai Queer Film Festival. People from mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan gathered together sharing how's LGBT movement going on in each countries in Mandarin. As the only Taiwanese represented, they talked to me with their eyes lightening that Taiwan is the only place in Asia able to make gay marriage legalize currently. At first I was wondering, wondering why these people give their hope on us instead of saying they can fight for human right at the same altitude with us, and we can make this dream come true together no matter our nationality. Then I realized the point is how lucky I am - as Taiwanese people - I've get used to freedom of speech but there are lots of people they are not able to talk freely in any topics because of the "atmosphere", in the other words 空気を読めない in Japanese, there is no LGBT friendly environment for them to talk about this in public.
Therefore, I make up my mind at time time to cherish the democracy and take part in this movement as much as I could on behave of those "foreign friends" to lighten up the unlimited possibility we can fight for.
Recalled what happened on 2017/05/24
Chi, Chia-Wei（祁家威）who is the hero/pioneer in this movement. He has been fighting for "getting married with his boyfriend" for 30 years. All of the administrative or civil litigations failed, so that he got the chance to ask the judge whether Civil Law saying marriage is only for heterosexual people constitute or not.
On the other hand, several cities in Taiwan have released "partnership" recognition for gay couples. Taipei City Government also asked the judge for its constitution whether gay couple are able to marriage or not. Jennifer Lu（呂欣潔）is one of the litigant. I would like to begin with her story first.
慢下來理解差異，你會發現相同的愛存在：呂欣潔 Jennifer Lu @TEDxTaipei 2015
Lu is social worker devoted to long-term care and LGBT movement for a long time. She used to be the volunteer (and became the director and researcher later of Taiwan Tongzhi(=LGBT) Hotline Association（同志諮詢熱線協會）, which is committed to gender equality, sexual education, counseling, etc. With the passion and achieve the gender equality society, Lou as the coordinator of Social Democracy Party（社會民主黨）became the legislator candidate in 2016. She was one of the coming-out candidates (there were four openly gay candidates in SDP at that time) but lose the election in the end. This time, she is not only the litigant of the judge but she is the leader of #equallovetw（婚姻平權大平台）.
#equallovetw 婚姻平權大平台 established in the beginning of this year invited everyone becomes the volunteering bee（婚姻平權小蜜蜂, since bees are annoying flying around us, we use bees to represent the spirit of keeping talking about the importance of gender/marriage equality or getting rid of the myth）to set everywhere is the best spots for people with different values about gender identity or sexual orientation.
TAPCPR（Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights，台灣伴侶權益推動聯盟，簡稱'伴侶盟') is another supporting group must be mentioned. They have kept promoting the “same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, and multiple-person families” （「同性婚姻、伴侶制度、家屬制度」民法修正草案，又稱「多元成家」草案）for a long time, which is the first draft amendment to the Civil Code in Taiwan enable people to create a family with whom they love under the protection of the law. However, people against gay marriage or any possibility to create "abnormal family" keep defaming TAPCPR（伴侶盟） and make their group name similar to TAPCPR（伴侶盟） in order to confuse it, but it's another long story. We call these opponents "萌萌" because the pronunciation of the last word is the same and "萌" in Japanese subculture has the meaning of cute - how could these people so cute that doing such of unreasonable rumors. It's kind of Taiwanese style humor though lol
Return to TAPCPR（伴侶盟）. TAPCPR（伴侶盟）is the defense counsel of Chi, Chia-Wei（祁家威）. On IDAHOT (The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia) 2017, TAPCPR（伴侶盟）held the Exhibition against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. A friend of mine was the volunteer of the exhibition saying that Chi volunteer to come to the exhibition almost every day for communicating with the audiences. Some articles use the pictures taken in the exhibition without taking about this event, so I just want to leave the story behind the scene here.
What I have seen on May 24th
I saw Lu's post in the last day, and immediately decided to rush to the Legislator Yuan in ordert to get the card LOL (I'm serious)
Since seldom articles talk about this, it is the main purpose why I'm writing this blog now seriously.
*福永玄弥 is the Chinese-Japanese translator of Kansai Queer Film Festival
I'm not going to explain the judicial system in Taiwan here. Anyway, the judge dismisses the constitution is in Judicial Yuan, where Chi and TAPCPR were there, and people like me we gathered in front of Legislator Yuan with Lu and #equallovetw 婚姻平權大平台 because we are asking the legislature to amend the law.
Obara, H. on Twitter: "多くの方が誤解しているようですが、台湾で同性間の婚姻を排除している現行民法に違憲の解釈を発表したのは最高裁判所ではありません。司法院大法官です。 https://t.co/a02YjeVyVc"
同性婚人権救済弁護団 on Twitter: "司法院大法官による憲法解釈制度については、2012年の論文であり大法官に交代がありますが、鈴木賢さんの論文が参考になります。
Here is the card I got (still keep it in my iPhone case lol). In the end of the demonstration, there were six color zone depends on the site you set (for me, I was in purple zone). Take our your smart phone and turn on the light with corresponding the color of the card and here is the rainbow we made.
#點亮台灣 (LIGHT UP, Taiwan) is the slogan of our president Tsai, Ing-Wen（蔡英文）when she was the presidential candidate last year. We used the same slogan this time to tell her that you have to stand with us as you have promised. Let's light up Taiwan to make us become the lighthouse of democracy in Asia.
Just a short remind. I read lots of comment from Japan (Twitter, Facebook or comment down below the news website). People saying that those who participated in the demonstration are "gay", physiological male. I need to clarify that it is somehow the queer culture difference. Not only "gay" joined the demonstration but also "other types" but it's hard to tell from the pictures which commonly being used on these newspaper for some reasons (it takes time to explain so I would like to skip it).
souvenir I got in the demonstration
For those who thought that the LGBT movement in Taiwan are leading by physiological male "gay", don't forget who are the most important promoters! TAPCPR（伴侶盟）is the defense counsel of Chi, Chia-Wei（祁家威）and the headquarter of TAPCPR are lesbian couple.
The headquarter of TAPCPR, Victoria Hsu（許秀雯）and Jennifer Lu（呂欣潔）are also the coordinators of Social Democracy Party（社會民主黨）in 2016. "Lesbians" (actually I don't like to use this word at all) are also play an important role promoting LGBT rights in Taiwan for sure, and I would rather say that seldom countries like Taiwan (especially in Asia) women are active in social movements.
We may not notice some difference due to our background but you cannot say there is no just because you do not notice it.
Indeed, it is sad to say that Victoria Hsu（許秀雯）and Jennifer Lu（呂欣潔）are kind of being forgotten (I hope they are not in purpose) for these foreign media.
ps. The host of the demonstration are Jennifer Lu（呂欣潔）and Cheng, Chi-Wei（鄭智偉）. Both of them are social worker in Taiwan Tongzhi(=LGBT) Hotline Association（同志諮詢熱線協會）. Just leave their name here. I know about Cheng before and it is a pity not to mention Cheng since it is because Lu and Cheng are the hosts so that the atmosphere of demonstraion event became so funny. lol
What we have to do from now on
In response to the ruling in Case 748 made today (2017/5/24) at 4pm by the Grand Justices, Petitioner Mr. Chi Chia-Wei and TAPCPR have the following comments to make:
1) We are without doubt, that this ruling affirms the position that prohibiting same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling is not just a victory for the Petitioner, but for all citizens:
The Grand Justices made a clear decision today that the Civil Code in its current form is unconstitutional; that it contravenes Articles 22 and 7 of the Constitution; and prescribed a timeframe of 2 years for the legislative to amend the law to guarantee the equal protection for same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. The Grand Justices affirmed that the freedom to marry is one of the most important freedoms we have, and in this responded to the opinions of the Ministry of Justice and the anti-marriage equality camp’s insistence that marriage is merely an ‘institution’.
2) At a critical juncture, the Grand Justices played an important role in protecting the Constitution:
The Grand Justices are clear that the historical injustices and affront to their basic human rights suffered by the LGBT community because they do not fall under the protection of freedom to marry, and because of the unpredictably long process of legislative action on this issue, required them to act in protection of people’s most fundamental human rights.
3) The Grand Justices have rejected discriminatory legislation for same-sex couples such as “same-sex partnership act”:
Because they have affirmed that LGBT citizens should enjoy equal protection for the freedom to marry, it could be perceived that the Grand Justices believe that any special legislation like a “same-sex partnership act” (which is not “marriage”) would not adhere to the concept of equality, and therefore would not be the correct way to legislate for the freedom of marriage.
4) We call on the Legislative Yuan and all organs of government to grant the LGBT community their right to marriage:
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) controls the Presidency, the Legislative and the Executive. President Tsai Ing-wen, in her election campaign, clearly stated her support for marriage equality. We call on the Legislative Yuan, which have been given two years by the Grand Justices to amend the law; not to wait until the last minute before the deadline falls. Because every day counts, every day is important, so many LGBT friends are caught up in trouble and strife caused by this inequality.
5) The Grand Justices explained that before this ruling, no interpretations regarding marriage between same sex partners had ever been made; all previous interpretations were on the basis of one husband, one wife, one man, one woman, and explained that these interpretations occurred entirely within the context of heterosexuality.
6) Procreation is not a reason for differential treatment, allowing for homosexual marriage does not negatively affect heterosexual marriage, the 'traditional' family unit or the rights of heterosexual spouses.
7) The Grand Justices have seen that LGBT citizens exist, and have seen first hand the lengthy process that Mr. Chi Chia-Wei has continued on in his fight for marriage equality, and they have also seen the hard work by civil society in this regard.
8) The Grand Justices have affirmed that Article 7 of the Constitution protects not only against discrimination based on “sex, religion, race, class, or party affiliation“ as are mentioned in its text, but also “physical, mental or other disabilities”, and, in our case sexual orientation.
Petitioner Mr. Chi Chia-Wei and TAPCPR Statement
re: Marriage Equality case
台灣伴侶權益推動聯盟 TAPCPR – 婚姻平權釋憲 聲請人祁家威及伴侶盟聯合聲明 （中英文版）
The following two years are crucial.
We will keep following and updating the progress rate what legislators are trying to promote.
We want to amend the civil law instead of making a special law for non-hetero couples.
I was born and live in Xi-Men Ding, one of the most LGBT-friendly neighborhood in Taipei/Taiwan/Asia. I just hear that Taipei City Government is thinking to circle this area become special area as "GAY TOWN".
NO WAY! What are these people thinking to circle a special area it feels like restrict sexual minority related events or shops can only be this area.
TAIPEI CITY GOVERNMENT YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THAT because the entire Taiwan is an LGBT-friendly society already.
It rains but we never give up because
rainbow will hang in the sky after the rain.