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Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada

Ka-n-ti Ti-on Jn-kon Hiap-ho

45 Fontainbleau Drive Toronto Canada M2M 1P1





2014 22


Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
Ka-n-ti Ti-on Jn-kon Hiap-ho

45 Fontainbleau Drive Toronto Canada M2M 1P1

Letter to the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan on SameSex Marriage Issue

At our executive meeting on May 24, 2014, the Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada voted to
express our support for Taiwans proposed Equal Marriage Act as moved by Deng Li-jun, You Mei-nu
and others . So we were dismayed to learn that its most recent Annual General Assembly the
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan passed an emergency resolution stating the opposition of the church to
homosexual behavior and to same- sex marriage. We therefore are writing to you to express our deep
disappointment with this action, and to urge you to reconsider this resolution.

We are distressed to learn that rather than continuing the process of study and dialogue already
underway in committee, a group of unhappy delegates at the meeting pushed this resolution forcing the
church to issue a statement expressing their views through a rushed vote. We believe that such a rush
to judgement is damaging to the witness of the church in Taiwan, and puts the church on the wrong
side of a significant human rights issue.

While the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan is not of one mind on whether it can give religious sanction to
same sex marriage, it must recognize the fact that secular law already recognizes that people have the
human right to live together in various forms of relationships, and 18 countries have legalized same-sex
marriage. Such recognition is required by the principle of equal treatment under the law. We consider
this to be a human rights issue before it is a religious issue. We do not think that it is necessary to
choose between religious beliefs and human rights. On the basis of human rights, you can support the
revision of marriage law in Taiwan to remove reference to gender, even while the church continues to
debate the religious issue of Christian faith and homosexuality.

Religious believers do have the right to hold their beliefs. Thus it would be helpful for the Presbyterian
church, while expressing support for an equal marriage law, to ask that a clause be added that no
religious organization, or clergy be required to perform a marriage which is against its beliefs.

Same sex marriage is an emotional and divisive issue, and not only for Christians in Taiwan. Before a
broad consensus is reached across the church, it might be helpful to consider adopting the practice of
some churches (for example the Anglican Church in Canada) of permitting the blessing of Christian
same-sex relationships, while not performing same-sex marriage. This goes some way towards
honouring the faith of homosexual Christians seeking to live together in a faithful relationship. This
policy would fulfil the meaning of the words in the resolution:

In solidarity,

Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
Executive Committee July 22, 2014