The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Caucus Whip has said that a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Taiwan “will be passed” in 2017.
The country is one of the most progressive in Asia on LGBT rights, providing some LGBT rights protections and allowing some limited recognition of same-sex relationships.
Ker Chien-ming said that he holds no “loating for homosexuality”, and that the bill will be passed after a legislative committee on 26 December, and in the next legislative session.
He said the bill would go for a third reading in the general committee after the December hearing.
HIs own party’s legislator Yu Mei-nu has taken a leading role in pushing for equality in the country.
Of Mei-nu, he said: “There were rumors, and I can only respect [her decision].”
But he went on to say the orders to support same-sex marriage had come from the President, however he added that “every member of the party supports marriage equality.”
Religious leaders have provided strong opposition to the bill, but Ker said they should “give [gay couples] a road to follow”, saying same-sex marriage is an international trend.
President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday, following protests in favour of the bill: “Let’s not treat the people around us as enemies.”
Lawmakers in the country are hoping to push further on equality issues – with politicians from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last month filing a bill that would legalise same-sex weddings.
The bill would change the definition of marriage to specify it is between two people, rather than between a “man and woman”.
As the legislation heads towards Parliament, hopes are high that it could pass – making Taiwan the first country in Asia to permit same-sex couples to marry. The country’s President, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, previously expressed support for equal marriage.
There is some opposition to the legislation, however, primarily from Western-inspired fundamentalist church groups, who have some influence in the region.
The anti-LGBT Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan has vowed to protest the change.
The group’s head Chang Shou-yi fumed: “What gay activists want is for their lifestyle to be affirmed by society, but why do they need to change the traditional institution of marriage, which goes back thousands of years?”