In a rather remarkable, progressive, and individually rights-minded decision, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that its Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples of get married and ordered the legislature to change its laws within the next couple of years. Here’s a link to the Court’s official English-language press release, and general webpage which has a link to Chinese-language full opinion. In the first footnote of the Chinese language opinion, the Court cites the 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell.
That makes Taiwan the first place in Asia to allow gay marriage and shows how different from mainland China it is now as a society, in terms of its values, commitment to individual rights, and the rule of law. I’ll be in Taiwan in a few weeks to speak at a water pollution conference, and I’ll be really interested to see this plays out there.
Inspiring commencement speech by former Secretary of Defense and 1963 SCU Law graduate Leon Panetta at Santa Clara Law’s 2017 commencement exercises on Saturday.
Here’s an excerpt from linked article:
“The story of the last election was the story of lost trust, angry voters who felt that no one in Washington, no political party, was working to deal with the problems they were facing,” he said.
He said such divisions are surmountable, but “you cannot be a good leader or a good citizen if you do not respect our Constitution and the institutions responsible for enforcing the requirements of that sacred document.”
Panetta is the son of immigrants, and he told of how his parents traveled thousands of miles to give their children a better life. “We are a nation that builds bridges, not walls,” he said. “And most of all, we need to respect the truth.”
He told a story of when he was CIA director and met the families of seven CIA employees killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2009. He said he gave each family a plaque with a biblical verse from Isaiah: “Whom shall I send? … Here I am Lord. Send me.”
“That, ladies and gentlemen,” said Panetta, “is the sound of the trumpet that must summon all of us to action.”
It was a great call to service for our graduates as they enter the profession and an inspiring message impressing on them that their chief duty is to justice and the rule of law . Godspeed to all of them.
I just noticed that they questionnaire/advice I provided to students in “The Advocate,” Santa Clara Law’s student newspaper, came out more than a month ago, February 17. Nevertheless, here it is, for your amusement, with a link to the Advocate. I posted the relevant page below. Dori Pina’s advice came first, so you’ll need to scroll down a bit.