Constitutional court convenes to debate same-sex marriage

Taiwan's grand justices have convened a constitutional court to debate the issue of same-sex marriage.

The debate, broadcast live on the internet on Friday, did not however bring supporters and opponents any closer on the issue.

Victoria Hsu, a lawyer who represents an LGBT rights activist, said same-sex marriage should be made legal in line with the spirit of the constitution.

The prohibition and the ban on [same-sex marriage] in the Civil Code violates human dignity, personal autonomy and equal rights as well as the freedom to marry, the basic rights protected by the constitution. It also violates Item 6 in Article 10 of the constitutional amendment that discrimination should be eliminated. In light of this, an announcement should be made that the current Civil Code is unconstitutional," said Hsu.

However, Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san argued that the Civil Code does not violate the constitution because it is built on the basis of two genders. Chiu also said same-sex unions are not within the boundaries of the constitutional protection. Chiu suggested mapping out a separate law for same-sex couples.

This option, proposed as a compromise, is opposed by same-sex marriage advocates who say it falls short of full equality.

The Judicial Yuan, Taiwan's highest judicial body, will give an interpretation of the constitution within two months.

Source: Radio Taiwan International