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Over half of Taiwanese support gay marriage: Survey

Activists plan mass banquet in front of Presidential Office

Over half of Taiwanese support gay marriage: Survey

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An opinion poll shows that more than 50 percent of Taiwanese approve of the legalization of gay marriage, an activist group said Tuesday, promising more action once the Legislative Yuan reconvened in September.
The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said that a variety of couples would hold a symbolic wedding banquet on Ketagalan Boulevard, the wide tree-lined street in front of the Presidential Office Building, on September 7. A red invitation card appeared on the organization’s web site.
According to the poll, 53 percent of the public supports gay marriage, more than double the amount recorded by a similar survey a decade ago, the organization said. In contrast, the opposition became a minority at 37 percent in the latest survey. In just ten years, a quarter of the population changed its opinion about the issue, TAPCPR Secretary-General Chien Chih-chieh said at the news conference presenting the results.
The organization said that in September it would also try and find support at the Legislative Yuan for the necessary legal amendments.
Chien said the survey showed that 76 percent of citizens were of the opinion that gays should enjoy equal rights, while 83 percent said that each person should be free to choose whom to love.
Younger highly educated people without a clear religious background were the most likely to support legal marriage or to change a previous negative attitude, Chien said. Of respondents between the ages of 20 and 29, 78 percent approved of gay marriage, of those with a university degree, more than 70 percent did, and of people without any religious affiliation, 58 percent did, the survey showed.
Catholics and Protestants only registered an average support level of 25 percent for gay marriage, while the figure stood at 55 percent for non-religious people, Buddhists and Taoists, according to the polling data. The two Christian religions only accounted for 6 percent of Taiwanese citizens, but their opinions registered a much larger impact than their limited numbers led to expect, the TAPCPR said.
September 7 was chosen for the wedding banquet in Taipei because of the positive connotation the day and time period held for weddings in the traditional Chinese calendar, Chien said. About 1,000 seats would be reserved on Ketagalan Boulevard for the day, according to the TAPCPR.
All types of couples or relatives were welcome to register for the event, Chien said, while pictures of participants would be projected on a large screen.
The poll results showed that government and politicians should no longer be reticent in allowing a minority opinion to set the agenda and pretend to serve as the mainstream in Taiwan society, Chien said.
The TAPCPR said gays could also form model families and be good parents. A reported 80,000 people signed the group’s petition for the legalization of gay marriage, while prominent Taiwanese and celebrities would be invited to speak up on behalf of the cause.
The TAPCPR said it asked the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology to conduct the survey. Researchers said the legalization of gay marriage by more than ten countries was a major factor in the change of opinion among the Taiwanese public.
The institute polled 627 people by phone between June 20 and July 9 with a margin of error of 3.9 percent.