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June 28, 2017

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Same-sex marriage wouldn't bring about end of the world

The Taiwan Religious Groups Caring Family Alliance, an umbrella organization representing various religious institutions, recently held a press conference to state their opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage and their determination to guard traditional values, and announced a petition against same-sex marriage.

According to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, advocates for legalizing same-sex marriage constitute an international movement toward sexual liberation and promiscuity which threatens the very existence of traditional morality.

The alliance also stated that legalizing same-sex marriage would enlarge the homosexual population and legitimize homosexuality in the eyes of children, bringing severe consequences.

That these anti-gay marriage groups have the freedom to state an opinion cannot guarantee their attention to basic logic. Whether you believe homosexuality is a genetic condition or a personal choice, legalizing same-sex marriage can do as much to create more homosexual people as installing Braille can lead to blindness, but it does have the potential to lend dignity to the lives of these individuals and reduce the public and private discrimination which they currently face.

The Taiwanese media, in their selective attention to homosexual identity even in stories about drug use and sexual conduct, must bear responsibility for shaping these discriminatory stereotypes.

In reality, however, a person's sexual orientation has not been definitively linked to any difference in the likelihood of that person committing a crime. On the other hand, same-sex marriage remains strictly forbidden in countries like India, in which sexual crimes such as the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year old woman still occur with astonishing frequency. It may be difficult to justify a regression toward heteronormative society in light of incidents such as these which simultaneously induce the spectator's revulsion and shame.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yu Mei-nu's (尤美女) proposal of an amendment to legalize same-sex marriage and the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights' fight for family diversity both represent an inheritance of the fight for radical equality across all sexes and orientations.

The statements made by opponents of same-sex marriage, on the other hand, betray an understanding of homosexuality as based solely on physical sexuality, to the exclusion of other personal attributes. If people can have the right to choose what religion they want to be involved in, they should also have the right to choose who they want to love.

According to a survey recently conducted by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), 53 percent of Taiwanese people support the legalization of same-sex marriage, a two-fold increase over a decade ago, while 37 percent of people oppose the proposition.

The change in attitude relates to international trends regarding same-sex marriage. Since 2001, over a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, have passed bills to legalize marriage between same-sex couples, and the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled this June in favor of gay rights, recognizing married gay couples' eligibility for federal benefits.

Legalizing same-sex marriage will be a huge step forward in the fight for universal equality akin to ending apartheid. However, the attainment of equality for same-sex couples, like the fight for racial equality, will require broader acknowledgement that those of different sexuality, just as those of different skin color, deserve the same opportunities in society as long as their choices do not harm others.

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