Despite the progress the LGBT community has made, the community still encounters strong opposition in society. The Faith and Hope League (FHL), a political party founded last year with a mainly Christian membership, started a petition last November. Called “Protect Families”, the petition urged the government to conduct a public referendum on the “diverse family formation” bill and managed to get 180,000 signatures in less than a month.
The party’s major slogan is “defend families and protect children.” The director of FHL, Spencer Chang says the party wants to stop the “diverse family formation” bill. Chang says, “We are not against homosexuality, they can live whatever way they like, but we oppose the draft bill which will destroy our family system that has existed for thousands of years.”
Chang stresses that FHL does not discriminate against homosexuals. He says the league mainly opposes the second and third proposals of the bill, which involve amendments of the Civil Code related to family formation. “If (the bill) was just about same-sex marriage, it would have encountered less opposition.” he says.
Even though Chang opposes the bill, he strongly believes the issue should be decided by a civil referendum because this would be democratic. “If the people of Taiwan reach a consensus and agree that the bill should be passed, then we will not oppose it. But I think it should not be up to 113 legislators to decide. It should be the people of Taiwan.” He adds that he will accept the results of a referendum, whether it is for or against the bill.
Even among Christians, the issue is divisive. Arthur Chang, a university student born and raised in a Christian family, thinks society is divided along generational rather than religious lines. “I think the younger generation is more seeking to understand them (LGBT),” says Chang.
Chang attends a small conservative church in Taiwan and says he believes the Bible does not condone homosexual behavior. However, he believes society should not marginalize sexual minorities. Chang says he would vote “Yes” if there were a civil referendum on the bill. “I think voting no, for me, would communicate the wrong message at this juncture. Voting no would indicate to LGBT people that we don’t want you,” says Chang. “I would not make them feel like they’re somehow secondary to ordinary citizens.”
For Chang, it is important that society accepts the LGBT community. “From my best understanding right now, it (the bill) doesn’t produce more harm than good. I feel like the society should be in a posture of acceptance first. Once the society has a posture of acceptance, we can have dialogue and understanding of each other.”