Former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) on Saturday urged caution in handling the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, after a draft law on the matter triggered strong protests from opponents in Taiwan.
"I'm not being conservative, but great caution is required when it comes to changing the structure of family," Ma said during a seminar with students from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau at the University of Notre Dame.
He pointed out that it was during his tenure as mayor of Taipei that the city government started to provide funding every year for a gay pride parade, making Taipei the most homosexual-friendly city in Asia.
He said he made the decision at that time based mainly on human rights and humanitarian considerations and in the belief that people's sexual orientation should be respected, with the aim of protecting the gay community from discrimination.
Thanks to these efforts, some groups and values that had previously been neglected began to receive attention, a very important step in a democratic, free society, he said.
"Whether this can lead to changing the legal definition of family is a different question," he said, expressing confidence that a proper decision will be made via the democratic process.
Ma, at the invitation of the University of Notre Dame's Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, was to speak on Taiwan's new role in Asia and the world at its second Asia Leadership Forum.
Earlier Saturday, he was given a welcome tea party and watched an American football game at the university.
He will travel to Chicago before returning to Taiwan Nov. 23.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel