In the pursuit of same-sex marriage, advocates in each country evaluate the appropriate decision-making process for addressing this highly disputed issue—litigation, legislation, or referendum. The choice may be partially based on the institutional advantages of each approach, but more importantly, the choice is also conditioned by the legal and political context of each country, such as the authority of the court, the framing of public opinion, and the dynamics between movement and countermovement. Uniquely, all three decision-making processes are involved in the course of the institutionalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan. This Article, focusing on the experience in Taiwan, examines the approaches and factors that influence the conceptualization and realization of marriage equality, and to what extent the court can be involved in the process of major social reforms. At first glance, the polarizing events subsequent to the Taiwan Constitutional Court’s (TCC) decision seem to reflect the judicial backlash thesis, which suggests that court intervention is counterproductive, as it engenders political resistance. However, this Article argues that the way the TCC adjudicated may actually be a workable alternative approach for other courts to introduce same-sex marriage. In particular, the combination of a “remedial period” for the legislature and “supplemental judicial law-making” allows the courts to facilitate substantial social change while ensuring more democratic deliberation.
Litigation, Referendum or Legislation? The Road to Becoming the First in Asia to Institutionalize Same-Sex Marriage,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol29/iss2/5