Taiwan Court Rules That Constitution Violated By Disallowing Gay Marriage
So, apparently all that talk about “Asian values” has been debunked now.
Taiwan, which we think most people except for maybe the Flat Earth Society would agree is very much a part of Asia, just ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.
Looks like not every place in Asia subscribes to this nebulous concept of “Asian values” that Singapore holds so dear.
In a landmark decision, Taiwan became the first territory in Asia to legalise gay marriage on Wednesday (May 24) when its highest court ruled that the island’s current Civil Code, which says only a man and a woman can make a marriage agreement, violated the principles of equality and freedom of marriage enshrined in the Constitution.
The decision was a long time coming, after large groups of people who supported the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to marry staged marches and parades in support of the move.
Many Taiwan celebrities like singer A-mei and popular band Sodagreen have also come out in support of allowing same-sex marriage.
Singapore Still Stuck
While gay people in Taiwan will be allowed to marry soon, Singapore in contrast still legally treats gay men as criminals, thanks to Section 377A of the Penal Code, which states:
Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.
Apart from the religious people who want the law to stay in the statutes as it offends their religion, proponents of the law have pointed many times to “Asian values” as a reason why Singapore shouldn’t repeal it.
There are many in Singapore who still subscribe to the myth that the “traditional family” (i.e. one man, one woman, married to each other, with children conceived after marriage) is the only form of family that should exist.
A tragic offshoot of such thinking means that even heterosexual people who are not married and have kids out of wedlock are discriminated against.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong framed the debate on Section 377A as a question of societal values.
He said that Singapore society is not ready for the statute to be repealed, and if a referendum on whether to remove 377A were held, he believes most Singaporeans would want to keep it.
We think that’s because many Singaporeans have been conditioned to see the issue as a war on “Asian values”.
Singapore’s state discourse of Asian values focused on morality and community above self and the “traditional family” as the building block of society, as opposed to and in response to the perceived individuality of Western values, where moral decadence was rampant.