On May 24, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that homosexual marriage will be recognised in the island. This made Taiwan the first Asian country to legalise homosexual or same-sex marriage.
The court said that the law states that all citizens of Taiwan, no matter their sexual orientation or religion, ought to enjoy the right to marriage. The legislature now has two years either to amend this law or to enact laws addressing same-sex couples.
While gay rights supporters rejoiced, the anti-homosexual marriage camp called the ruling the most shameful judgement in Taiwanese history. They are now seeking a referendum to overturn the ruling. But do they stand a chance? After all, there’s nothing unconstitutional with this judgement. We can’t hold same-sex marriage to a different standard than heterosexual marriages.
And why should a referendum be held anyway? The rights of the LGBT community to marry shouldn’t be determined by people who aren’t a part of that community. It’s not like it affects them personally. If we allow the majority – in this case, heterosexual people – to decide the rights of the minority, then that minority risks marginalisation, and being stigmatised. That minority, in this case homosexual people, then have to hide who they really are and live with the fear of being discriminated against.
Anti-gay rights campaigners are claiming the legalisation of same-sex marriage will result in even more depraved acts being committed that will destroy core family values and the fabric of society itself. However, there is no correlation between homosexuality and these acts. Assuming homosexual people are immoral – purely because they are homosexual – is discrimination.
Let’s say we were to assume that homosexuality is a bad thing – which it isn’t – then a referendum still wouldn’t be the best way to overturn a judgement.
The Taiwanese people are, on the whole, becoming more liberal. People are generally more supportive of same-sex marriage now, and the likely outcome of any gay rights referendum would probably favour same-sex marriage. And it’s not like anti-gay rights supporters would accept that result either. What’s needed is for anti-gay rights supporters to realise society is progressing and moving on without them. If they want to keep up, they need to rid themselves of conservative values that have no place in modern society.