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28 Oct 2003

taiwan moves to recognise gay marriages

Taiwan might just become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriages if the new laws, which are currently being drafted, are approved by parliament.

The government of Taiwan has proposed to legitimise gay marriages and recognise the right of homosexual couples to adopt children among other issues such as abolishing the death penalty, according to an Agence France Press report.

A Cabinet official said on Monday that the proposal, jointly drafted by the Presidential Office and the cabinet, is designed to protect basic human rights.

If the new law is approved by parliament, Taiwan, an island nation off the coast of mainland China and with a population of 22.5 million, would be the first in Asia to legalise marriages among gay and lesbian couples who would also be able to adopt children. Currently, gays and lesbians are not considered as prospective parents.

United Daily News, a local newspaper quoted the Presidential Office as saying: "The human rights of homosexuals have been gradually recognised by countries around the world."

"To protect their rights, people [of the same sex] should have the right to wed and have a family based on their free will," it added.

The Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Association welcomed the proposed legislation, which its officials described as an act of "goodwill" from the government.

"It would be our pleasure to see the development. Basically we are positive toward the goodwill from the government," said Chan Ming-chou, an official with the association.

However, Chan said that discrimination against gays and lesbians remains a problem and there is still a long way to go before discrimination ends.

Before the proposed bill becomes law, the proposed bill needs to be approved by the cabinet where there is some opposition before it is approved by Taiwan's lawmakers.

Taiwan

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