TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opponents of the legalization of same-sex marriage protested in front of the Presidential Office Building Saturday.
The Legislative Yuan has named December 26 as the date to schedule discussions and reviews of several amendments which could make Taiwan the first country in Asia to introduce same-sex marriage. The supporters of the move are to hold a music festival on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
However, on December 3, an alliance calling itself “Happiness for the Next Generation” rallied at least 30,000 people on Ketagalan Boulevard in the government district of Taipei with as its basic demand the holding of a referendum on same-sex marriage. Since at least 50 percent of eligible voters have to cast a ballot for the outcome to be valid, most nationwide referendums held so far have failed to have a positive result. Similar events were being held in Kaohsiung and Taichung.
Divisions have also emerged about the way to move forward with the legislation, with gay rights groups saying that existing laws should be amended to include same-sex marriage, while the opponents have argued for a special separate new law. Comments by top ruling party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming seeming to approve of a new law have caused consternation among supporters of same-sex marriage, who previously regarded the new government as its strongest advocate.
Speakers at Saturday’s protests said that opponents of same-sex marriage were being intimidated and accused of discrimination, while too many pro-gay opinions were allowed to be voiced in educative materials in schools.
Organizers said about 100,000 people had turned up for the Taipei event, 50,000 in Taichung, and 40,000 in Kaohsiung, for a total of about 200,000.