平權的旗正飄揚

同運先驅:祁家威
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2019 / 9月

文‧曾蘭淑 圖‧林旻萱


2019年5月台灣寫下歷史,成為亞洲第一個同性婚姻合法的國家。世界各國與全球媒體紛紛讚揚台灣為捍衛人權、自由民主的先鋒。

立法院通過同性可以結婚的法令,緣於司法院大法官作出民法親屬篇疏於保障同性戀者權利的解釋,而釋憲案的聲請人之一,也是第九屆總統文化獎、社會改革獎的得主──祁家威。

 


滿頭白髮的祁家威,接受專訪時繫著彩虹領帶,戴著彩虹護手腕與彩虹手錶,襯衫領子兩端還別上V字形的彩虹徽章,「我支持同志權益」的訊息不言自明。

挑戰體制,大力奔走

祁家威一開口即語出驚人:「台灣不只是亞洲第一個通過婚姻平權的國家,台灣還曾是全世界第一個在國會討論婚姻平權的國家。」

「我當時只是沒有去申請金氏世界紀錄而已。」祁家威解釋,早在1986年,他到台北地方法院公證處請求與一名男性公證結婚,遭到拒絕後,改向立法院提出人民請願案。立法院司法及法制委員會請司法院副秘書長呂有文說明,並以正式公文回應拒絕,卻也開啟了台灣在國會殿堂討論婚姻平權的序幕。

由於當時台灣仍處於戒嚴時期,社會風氣保守,司法院回文:「同性戀者為少數之變態,婚姻與純為滿足情慾者有別……有背於社會善良風俗。」拒絕了祁家威的請願。他為此請願案遭到警備總部約談,入監162天,與因言論自由案件入獄的陳水扁、鄭南榕、黃天福等人同列政治犯關在台北看守所。

1992年後的三年間,祁家威除了蒙藏委員會以外,從新聞局到財政部,走遍各行政機關,以陳情、請願、訴願、行政訴訟的方式,讓公部門正視同志的權益。他受張老師、生命線之邀演講,擔任同志諮詢熱線的志工,接過無數個同性戀者、同性戀父母親打來諮商的電話,甚至有遠從香港打來的諮商。

防治愛滋,特異獨行

時間回到1986年3月,祁家威在麥當勞召開記者會,公開出櫃,並且宣示推廣防治愛滋和爭取同性婚姻,吸引美聯社、法新社、路透社等外國媒體採訪報導,這場升級為國際級的記者會,成為台灣同志運動的第一關鍵。

祁家威透露,他早在讀建國中學時,就告訴師生他是同志,但會遲至28歲才公開出櫃,是因為他高中時輪流「夜宿」各死黨同學家,同學的爸媽都待他如親人,為了避免長輩「誤會」,等待大多數的同學都結婚生子才開記者會,這些同學現在已是醫院院長、大學校長與中研院研究員。

現已不是絕症的愛滋病,在1980年代不僅是新型傳染病、甚至無藥可醫。而同志更被汙名化,與愛滋病劃上等號。

祁家威志願擔任同性戀者社群與衛生署防治小組的橋梁,防治宣導愛滋病。在當時同志議題仍屬禁忌,他卻不在意異樣眼光、批評的聲浪,扮成花仙子、木乃伊,身材高瘦的他,甚至只穿著小內褲,全身掛滿保險套,宣導安全性行為,在夜市募款,讓許多路人避之唯恐不及。

「宣導要靠媒體,老生常談不可能天天上報,我採用的是街頭行為藝術,靠包裝上報。」祁家威的特立獨行還有大眾傳播的理論基礎。

他與南昌檢驗院合作辦理HIV匿名篩檢,協助性工作者免費驗血、送保險套,免去感染愛滋病的威脅,甚至因此負債累累。

提出釋憲,促成同婚合法化

1992年起,祁家威再度向行政院提案要求同性婚姻合法化,從內政部到法務部,孤軍奮戰,1998年轉向司法訴訟,一路敗訴之後,2000年第一次向司法院聲請釋憲。祁家威援引世界發展的歷史說:「1999年美國疾病管制局將同性戀去病化,2000年荷蘭是全世界第一個通過同婚合法化的國家,1998年如果法院認定同性可以結婚,台灣就會是全世界第一個同婚合法化的國家,而不是荷蘭。」

然而祁家威的字典裡,沒有「失敗」、「挫折感」這兩個詞。從1986年至2019年,包括台灣伴侶權益推動聯盟、立委蕭美琴、律師尤美女等同運團體或民意代表,一共向政府提出了26次爭取婚姻平權的法案,其中有13個回合是祁家威提出的,他屢敗屢戰,無畏挫折。

2015年8月20日七夕情人節當日,祁家威因又申請結婚登記遭拒,再次具狀向司法院提出釋憲聲請書。他笑著補充說,1986年的登記被拒,因此他不算重婚。

2017年2月20日,司法院宣布受理該項聲請,同年5月24日,司法院大法官會議作出釋字748號解釋,宣告民法親屬篇疏於保障同性戀者的權利,有違憲法第22條保障人民婚姻自由與第7條保障人民平等權之意旨。

2018年11月24日全民公投結果,讓支持同婚的團體一度受挫,因為高達72%的選民,支持民法婚姻應限定一男一女的結合;61%的選民支持以專法保障同性伴侶,而不是修改民法。但為了落實釋憲案,2019年5月17日立法院在抗議與喧鬧聲中通過《司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法》,其中關鍵的第四條,明定「同志伴侶可向戶政機關辦理結婚登記」。當法案通過時,在立法院現場,支持同婚的群眾爆出如雷掌聲,不少伴侶相擁而泣。

5月24日法令生效當天,「同婚教父」祁家威在戶政事務所為多對同性伴侶證婚,台灣成為亞洲第一個同性婚姻合法化的國家。距離他第一次衝撞體制,辦理結婚登記已經33年。

爭取平權,國際發光

2018年12月世界人權公約簽署70週年,歐盟和聯合國人權事務高級專員辦事處(OHCHR)推出人權鬥士故事影片計畫,祁家威以推動性別人權有功名列全球17位人權鬥士之列。祁家威解讀:「聯合國把來自台灣的他列在網頁的第一位,就是要給中共難看。」

祁家威把2017年獲得第九屆總統文化獎──社會改革獎的100萬元獎金,捐給沒有經費去法國巴黎參加同志運動會的運動選手。台灣同志運動發展協會理事長楊智群說,這場來自92個國家與地區的運動會,台灣遭到中國大陸施壓不准拿國旗進場,卻得到主辦單位的聲援。最後不只台灣可以拿國旗,連法國、美國與菲律賓的選手,都同聲相應拿著台灣的小國旗進場。台灣選手拿到十金、五銀、三銅,還得到法國外交部長召見。

台灣同志運動發展協會已爭取到2021年亞洲同志運動會在台北,未來爭取2026年世界同志運動會的主辦權。楊智群說,法國透過舉辦行之有年的同志運動會,降低社會反同聲浪,台灣也能作為亞洲同志運動的先鋒。

身為同志運動會榮譽團長的祁家威,總是獨自一人站在高處搖著彩虹旗,站在同志運動的最前端。從1986年倡議婚姻平權只有他一人,許多團體共同奮鬥,台灣已成為更包容友善、更容忍差異的社會。

祁家威說,真正能做事的人,不怕時間的淬鍊與考驗。始終單打獨鬥的他還要繼續爭取跨國同性結婚的權利、同性伴侶領養子女的權利……,「平權運動還未成功,『同志』仍需努力。」 

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EN

Dayway Chief:

Pioneering Marriage Equality

Esther Tseng /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Brandon Yen

Taiwan made history in May 2019 when it became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Governments and media around the world praised Taiwan for its pioneering role in defending human rights, freedom and democracy.


During our interview, the gray-haired Dayway Chief (Chi Chia-wei) is wearing a rainbow necktie, rainbow wristbands and a rainbow watch, and a V-shaped rainbow badge is pinned to each of the collar points on his shirt. There is no mistaking the message he wants to convey: “I support LGBT rights.”

Battling against prejudices

The first comment Dayway Chief makes is startling: “Not only is Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, but it was also the first country in the world to debate marriage equality in its parliament.”

Chief explains that way back in 1986 he went to the notary public office of the Taipei District Court to register his marriage with a man. When he was rejected, he lodged a petition with the Legislative Yuan. The Judici­ary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee of the legislature asked Lu Yu-wen (deputy secretary-­general of the Judicial Yuan) to issue an explanation of the court’s decision. This led to an official rejection, but the incident nevertheless marked the beginning of Taiwan’s parliamentary debates about marriage equality.

Taiwan was still under martial law, and conservatism reigned in society. This was the Judicial Yuan’s reply: “Homosexuality as a sexual minority is a form of deviation. Marriage is different from mere sexual gratification... this departs from social norms and morals.” In this way, they rejected Dayway Chief’s petition. Because of his petition, Chief was investigated by the Taiwan Garrison Command and was imprisoned for 162 days.

During the three years from 1992, Chief approached every central government agency in Taiwan except for the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, from the Government Information Office to the Ministry of Finance. Through complaints, petitions, appeals and administrative litigation, he sought to draw the govern­ment’s attention to same-sex rights. He was invited by the Teacher ­Chang Foundation and Taiwan Lifeline International to give talks, and he volunteered to serve on an LGBT switchboard, answering telephone queries from innumerable gay and lesbian individuals and from parents of gay children. He even received queries from as far away as Hong Kong.

Keeping AIDS at bay

Back in March 1986, Dayway Chief held a press conference at a McDonald’s restaurant. He came out of the closet and vowed to promote AIDS prevention and to fight for same-sex marriage. He was featured in news stories by foreign agencies such as the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. This press conference, with its international profile, is regarded as the first crucial moment for the LGBT rights movement in Taiwan.

In the 1980s, AIDS—which today is no longer a death sentence—was a newly discovered sexually transmitted disease, and there was no treatment for it. Homosexuality was stigmatized and often equated with AIDS.

With an eye to AIDS prevention, Dayway Chief volunteered to work as a go-between for the gay community and the disease prevention team at the Department of Health. Homosexuality was still a taboo at that time, but he was not deterred by hostility and criticism. He dressed up as a flower fairy or as a mummy; tall and thin, he even stripped down to his briefs, with condoms hung all over himself, to promote safe sex and to raise funds at night markets. Many people were so scandalized that they stayed well away from him.

In collaboration with the Nan­chang Medical Labora­tory, he helped to arrange anonymous HIV testing, assist sex workers in getting free blood tests, and distribute free condoms, to fend off the threat of AIDS. He went deep into debt as a result.

Petitioning for a constitutional interpretation

In 2000, Dayway Chief submitted his first petition for a constitutional interpretation to the Justices of the Constitutional Court. He did not believe in defeat or frustration. From 1986 to 2019, LGBT organizations and elected representatives, including the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, legislator ­Hsiao Bi-khi and lawyer Yu Mei-nu, submitted 26 marriage equality bills to the government, 13 of which were initiated by Chief. Far from bringing him down, every disappointment only served to reinforce his determination.

On August 20, 2015 (Qixi Festival), Dayway Chief’s latest application to register his marriage was rejected. Once again, he filed a petition for a constitutional interpretation. He smiles as he adds that the marriage would not have been regarded as bigamous, as his earlier application in 1986 had been rejected.

On February 20, 2017, the Judicial Yuan announced that it would consider the petition. On May 24 of that year the Justices of the Constitutional Court issued Judicial Yuan Inter­pret­ation No. 748, declaring that the Family Law section of the Civil Code had failed to protect same-sex rights, and that this contravened both Article 22 of the Constitution, which protects the people’s freedom to marry, and Article 7, which protects the people’s right to equal treatment.

The results of referendums held on November 24, 2018 came as a blow to supporters of same-sex marriage, because as many as 72% of voters thought that marriage, as defined in the Civil Code, should only mean the union of one man and one woman. Sixty-one percent were in favor of making a special law to legalize same-sex marriage, rather than amending the Civil Code. But in order to comply with the constitutional interpretation, the Legislative Yuan passed the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 on May 17, 2019, amid protests and clamor. Article 4 of this act provides that “same-sex couples may register their marriages at household registration offices.” When the act was passed, the supporters of same-sex marriage who had gathered outside the Legislative Yuan gave a big round of applause, and many of the couples hugged each other in tears. Taiwan thus became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.    

Marriage equality on the global stage

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 2018, the European Union and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced a series of films on human rights defenders. As a tribute to his promotion of gender rights, Dayway Chief was among the 17 human rights defenders chosen from across the world.

In 2017, Chief also won the “Social Reform” category of the Ninth Taiwan Presidential Cultural Awards. He donated his award—worth NT$1 million—to those athletes who could not afford to attend the Gay Games in Paris.

Kevin Yang, president of the Taiwan Gay Sports and Taiwan Gay Development Movement Association, says that China exerted pressure to ban the Taiwanese team from entering the site with national flags. But thanks to the support of the organizers, the team were not only allowed to display Taiwanese flags, but the athletes from France, the US and the Philippines also expressed solidarity by waving small Taiwanese flags upon their entrance. The Taiwanese team won ten gold, five silver and three bronze medals and were invited to see France’s minister for Europe and foreign affairs.

Dayway Chief, honorary team leader at the Gay Games in Paris, has always stood alone on the high ground, waving the rainbow flag, at the forefront of LGBT rights.

Chief says that people who are truly capable are not afraid of the trials and challenges of time. Fighting on his own all along, he vows to carry on battling for the rights of those whose same-sex spouses are foreign nationals, for the adoption rights of same-sex couples, and much more. Alluding to one of Sun Yat-sen’s maxims, he says: “The equal rights movement has not yet succeeded; LGBT people still have to work hard.”           

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