Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interesting News Bites from Asia

TAIWAN:  TAPCPR, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, has announced that it will deliver a same-sex partnership bill to the Legislative Yuan (the Taiwanese legislature) in July of 2012.  TAPCPR has been advocating for a change in the current civil law since 2009.  Its bill will be three-pronged, covering a partnership system, legalization of same-sex marriage, and modernization of the current family code.

A same-sex marriage bill has been proposed before in Taiwan, but it met a major hurdle.  This because, according to Taiwanese law, family members of one spouse are automatically bound by law to become relatives of the other spouse's family.  The subsequent conflict over the implementation of family inheritance laws has effectively stalled that bill since 2003.
The new partnership bill, however, focuses solely on the union of two people, specifically removing the couple's families from the equation.

We'll hope for the best for the future of the bill!

...but making women cover their faces is perfectly all right...
MALAYSIA:  On a more disgusting note, Mashitah Ibrahim, a Deputy Minister of Malaysia, assured the Malaysian Senate that being LGBT is against Islam and, because Islam is the official religion of the country, being LGBT is also against the Malaysian constitution.

When asked by a senator if it was right for the government to respond to LGBT issues using religious doctrine, Ibrahim replied that the LGBT community is not protected by the constitution.  "Article 8 of the Federal Constitution says there must be no discrimination of citizens in terms of religion or sex. 'Sex' has never been interpreted to mean sexual orientation; it has always been interpreted to mean either male or female, and they are [the only ones] protected by the constitution."

Malaysian human rights groups fired back, however, saying that Malaysia risks being the laughing stock of the world if it continues to hold on to such outdated concepts.

This follows this week's message from Malaysian deputy education minister Mohd Zarkashi, telling parents to look out for the signs of "LGBT tendencies" in youth.  He said parents must "prevent youngsters from experimenting and making a choice of this unnatural practice as a lifestyle later on."

I say we should airdrop a few million updated human sexuality science textbooks across Malaysia so the people can get some real education, rather than knuckle-dragging religious gobbledygook.  On second thought, the morality police would probably just round up all the books and burn them.

Ahhh the beauty of religion.  That's quite a "democracy" you've got there, Malaysia.

Ho Chi Minh City
VIETNAM:  This one threw me for a loop because it kinda came out of the blue.  The Vietnamese Ministry of Justice has directed relevant agencies in the country, including the country's top law school and the Vietnamese Supreme Court, to gather opinions about amending the Family Law in order to potentially allow same-sex marriages.

The Ministry has already held meetings in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City to discuss the provisions that will need to be amended in the law if they decide to move forward with it.  The issue is scheduled to be discussed in the National Assembly in 2013.

There's no guarantee a bill will be presented, or that if one is presented it won't get stuck in committee for ten years, but Go Vietnam!  This is progress!

THAILAND:  I have been unable to find any relevant updates concerning the same-sex marriage draft bill that was supposedly submitted to Thai Parliament in late 2011.

For some reason (this is just my observation here), it seems that whenever same-sex partnership legislation is submitted in any Asian country, it takes ages to move.  Taiwan's had a proposal since 2003...the legislation hasn't moved forward.  Nepal's Supreme Court ordered recognition of same-sex marriage there in legislation has moved forward.  Cambodia's king announced in 2004 that he supports legislation to legalize same-sex marriage there...nothing has moved forward since then.

Do the legislatures of Asian countries typically move so slowly on everything?  In Europe we can see bills drafted, submitted, debated, then voted into law all within a four or five month span.  Asia come on, let's get the ball rolling already!

(If you do happen to know the status of the Thai same-sex marriage bill, please feel free to give an update in the comment field below.  Thanks!)


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