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.