TaipeiTaiwan: Rights advocacy groups have condemned former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung over his comments that there should be special legislation for same-sex marriages, so that people do not confuse them with “traditional” marriages.

Currently, the amendments to the Civil Code to allow people of the same sex to be married are under review by the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Speaking recently about same-sex marriage in his new book, Lin told that “Although we do not understand why people of the same sex would fall in love and develop a desire for each other, we should respect it as something private between the two people.”

He added that he believes same-sex marriage and child adoption by same-sex couples should not be banned, but it would be better if there were separate legislation for the “new type of union” so that it would not be confused with the traditional version.

“Traditionally, ‘marriage’ is defined as a union between a man and woman, but we believe that everyone — regardless of sexual orientation — should enjoy equal rights. That is why we are pushing for amending the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage,” Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh  told a news conference in Taipei.

“Since equality in the right to be married is the central idea of the campaign, we would not accept separate legislation, because such legislation would still be discrimination and putting a label on same-sex couples,” she said.

The alliance’s executive director Victoria Hsu said that having a separate law for same-sex marriages would only deepen discrimination and would not help enhance social harmony and diversity.

“Equality is not putting differences aside, but recognizing and embracing them,” she said according to the report.

Gay rights activist Shen Ying-chun said that she was disappointed by Lin’s remarks.

“As a lesbian, I feel disappointed to see your [Lin’s] remarks,” Shen said. “As a respected democracy activist, do you really think it is a democratic value to put people into two different categories?”

Shih Ming-te Cultural Foundation executive board director Chen Chia-chun said that activists are worried about the impact of Lin’s remarks, as he is a respected figure in society.