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Yun-Hsien Diana Lin, essential drafter of Taiwan’s same-sex marriage invoice, wins Haas Worldwide Award

By Andrew Cohen

Berkeley Legislation could have been greater than 6,500 miles away, however Yun-Hsien Diana Lin felt an in depth connection to its public mission. Working as a analysis assistant within the Taiwan Legislative Yuan (Congress), she developed a robust ardour for social justice, particularly gender points.

“That is why I selected Berkeley Legislation for my LL.M program,” Lin says. “It has lengthy been well-known for its programs and packages on social justice.”

Twenty years later, Lin returned to Berkeley to obtain the celebrated Elise and Walter A. Haas Worldwide Award, which honors a UC Berkeley alum who’s a local, citizen, and resident of one other nation and has a distinguished document of service to that nation. A regulation professor at Nationwide Tsing Hua College in Taiwan, Lin was the principle architect of a 2019 invoice that made Taiwan the primary Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Berkeley Legislation Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (left) meets with Lin throughout her latest go to.

After receiving her LL.M. diploma In 2002, Lin stayed at Berkeley Legislation and earned a Physician of Authorized Science — the varsity’s most superior diploma — which prepares graduates to excel in educating and authorized scholarship around the globe.

“For 18 years of advocacy and analysis for gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive justice, I’ve by no means forgotten what I discovered whereas learning in Berkeley,” Lin says. “Though I am deeply honored to obtain this award, I am additionally humbled, particularly after viewing the profile of previous recipients. To me, it is a main recognition that what I have been doing exemplifies the values ​​of UC Berkeley.”

A pursuit born in Berkeley

Lin wrote her LL.M. thesis on legalizing same-sex marriage, and saved a watch on related circumstances. She printed articles about authorized points confronted by lesbian {couples} in Taiwan who wished to turn into mother and father, was consulted by the Ministry of Justice about authorized amendments in household regulation, and in 2016 she bought commissioned to check and draft the nation’s Identical-Intercourse Partnership Act.

Her draft report of over 500 pages—laying out the formation, dissolution, rights, and obligations of same-sex partnership—shaped the spine of the invoice. In March 2019, two months earlier than the act was handed, Lin was tapped to reply questions and assess its sustainability earlier than members of Taiwan’s Congress and Authorized Affairs Bureau.

“We appeared into same-sex partnership legal guidelines in different international locations by way of comparative regulation, then in-depth interviews of household regulation professors have been held to type the framework of the draft,” Lin says. “Additionally, focus teams have been performed to interview household courtroom judges, attorneys, and NGO representatives to collect their opinions. And eventually, 4 civil conferences have been held to debate with native individuals, nose to nose, within the north, central, south, and east of Taiwan.”

In the course of the drafting of the regulation, mass rallies for and in opposition to same-sex marriage occurred in entrance of Taiwan’s Presidential Workplace, with tens of 1000’s of individuals. The problem sparked main media protection and heated on-line debate.

“I used to be joyful that I am not an energetic consumer of social media in order to be shielded from these upsetting feedback,” Lin says. “Nonetheless, I acquired numerous opinions by way of e-mail, submit mail, and even supply in particular person suggesting numerous authorized frameworks for issues concerning LGBTQ. It was completely essentially the most tough analysis challenge I’ve ever achieved, but it surely was very rewarding.”

Significant mentorship

After presenting about Taiwan’s landmark laws on the 2019 Legislation and Society Annual Assembly in Washington DC, Lin devoted the respect of being the invoice’s essential drafter to Sister Hill Kay. Berkeley Legislation’s first girl dean, Kay taught at Berkeley Legislation for 57 years and served as Lin’s school advisor earlier than her loss of life in 2017.

two women posing at table with coffee cups
Lin visits with Herma Hill Kay, her Berkeley Legislation mentor, at Kay’s residence in 2014.

“I discovered a lot in her Intercourse-Based mostly Discrimination seminar and Household Legislation class,” Lin remembers. “And Herma supervised my LL.M. thesis on the subject of same-sex marriage within the US and later my JSD thesis on home violence regulation. She was the one who inspired me to turn into a professor in pursuit of gender equality. Even after I went again to Taiwan, she was my mentor by way of my early profession in academia and after receiving tenure in 2011.

“I’d e-mail her my newest draft of an article and she or he’d ship me her feedback inside a couple of days. And I had the respect to be invited to her residence de ella in San Francisco a few occasions, often on my strategy to numerous conferences within the US One of the highly effective ways in which my Berkeley expertise formed my skilled path de ella is her de she mentored her.”

Lin additionally credit Nancy Lemon ’80who directed Berkeley Legislation’s Home Violence Subject Placement from 1990 to 2022, for instrumental steerage on her JSD thesis. “She generously helped me by proofreading each chapter and offering suggestions. I discovered from her not solely the tactic of educational writing, but additionally the spirit of preventing for social justice.”

Noting that Berkeley Legislation’s “superb selection” of public interest-focused lessons and quite a few brown bag lunch talks on associated matters vastly broadened her horizons, Lin provides that “they supplied me with the imaginative and prescient of an expert path in pursuit of social justice.”

Valued voice in Taiwan

An knowledgeable in household regulation, reproductive justice, and gender equality, Lin publishes articles in each Taiwanese and main worldwide regulation journals. She has tackled matters equivalent to same-sex marriage, lesbian parenting, little one adoption, little one abuse, involuntary sterilization of mentally disabled individuals, disclosure of sperm donors’ identities, and entry to assisted reproductive applied sciences.

As a committee member of the Govt Yuan for the Prevention of Human Trafficking and the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Lin helped coordinate Taiwan’s first nation report for the Worldwide Conference on the Elimination of All Types of Racial Discrimination.

woman with mic in front of banner
Lin speaks throughout graduation at Nationwide Tsing Hua College, the place she has taught since 2005.

“I’m honored to be a part of the worldwide human rights safety agenda in opposition to racial discrimination,” she says.

Lin additionally advises Taiwan’s Ministries of Justice, Interiors, and Well being and Welfare, is a founding board member of the Taiwan Household Legislation Society, steadily speaks at worldwide conferences, and teaches programs for the Taiwan Judges Academy, Taipei Bar Affiliation, and numerous authorities departments .

A member of the Taiwan Ministry of Well being and Welfare’s Reproductive Well being Advisory Committee, her newest efforts have been directed to a proposed modification to the nation’s Reproductive Well being Act, together with arguing in opposition to requiring a husband’s consent for an abortion. As well as, to guard mentally disabled people from involuntary sterilization, Lin proposed procedural safeguards and substantial standards in amending the present legal guidelines.

Whereas the problem of homosexual marriage continues to polarize, Lin was grateful to see greater than 200,000 contributors from everywhere in the world participate in Taiwan’s LGBT Satisfaction Parade in October 2019 — and the steadily rising acceptance of same-sex {couples} since then.

“To most Taiwanese individuals, legalizing same-sex marriage is the correct factor to do, even to be pleased with,” she says. “By way of how you can change the standard conservatives, I imagine that non-public experiences trump rumors and proper bias. When increasingly more same-sex {couples} take part of their youngsters’s faculty actions and volunteer work, different mother and father and society as an entire will step by step notice they’re simply as ‘regular’ as some other mother and father within the faculty district.”

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