Taiwan's same-sex marriage referendum results show city-county, north-south divides

Results of Taiwan's referendums show cities in north more supportive of same-sex marriage

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- To the surprise and disappointment of many in urban centers of Taiwan, a referendum on whether to support same-sex marriage legalization through amendments to the Civil Code was defeated in Saturday's nine-in-one elections, and a look at the data shows a divide between urban versus rural voters, and northern versus southern Taiwanese.

When posed with the question "Do you agree to the protection of same-sex marital rights with marriage as defined in the Civil Code?" The majority of Taiwanese voters, 6,949,697 (63.52 percent), voted against the initiative, while 3,382,286 (30.92 percent) voted in favor.

CM Media yesterday (Nov. 27) then revealed the percentages for and against the referendum in Taiwan's 22 cities and counties, and even broke down the percentages within some major cities, 10 of which it deemed the "top 10 most friendly cities for comrades," "comrade" being euphemism for homosexual. Based on data from the Central Electoral Commission, CM Media found the top three cities with the highest level of support for the referendum were Taipei (38.12 percent), New Taipei City (34.93 percent), and Hsinchu City (34.59 percent).

The next seven cities and counties with the highest rate of support were Keelung City (33.91 percent), Tainan City (33.35 percent), Yilan County (33.04 percent), Chiayi City (32.67 percent), Kaohsiung City (32.54 percent), Taoyuan City (31.86 percent), and Taichung City (31.33 percent). Out of the top ten cities and counties, only one was a county - Yilan County - and even with Taipei having the highest rate of support, it still represented a minority of the vote in that city.

In broad terms, out of Taiwan's 22 counties and municipalities, northern counties and cities tended to have a higher rate of support of marriage equality. For example, in the top ten were the far northern cities of Taipei, New Taipei, Hsinchu, and Keelung.

As for Taipei's 12 administrative districts, Datong, Zhongshan, and Neihu had the highest approval rates, where they reached nearly 40 percent. The districts with the lowest level of support for same sex unions were Wanhua, Zhongzheng, and Wenshan, though at an average of 36.6 percent, they had a higher rate of approval for the referendum than did other counties and cities.

In New Taipei City, the eight districts showing the highest level of support, with an average of 35 percent, were Tamsui, Sanchong, Xizhi, Luzhou, Xinzhuang, Banqiao, Linkou, and Tucheng. The districts with the least amount of support, between 30.8 percent and 27.9 percent, were Jinshan, Gongliao, Pinglin, Shuangxi, Wulai, Wanli, and Pingxi.


Chart showing percentage in favor of same-sex marriage referendum by city and county.

CM Media postulated that those areas of New Taipei City which were closer to Taipei City, where many who commute to the capital city live, tended to be more in favor of same-sex marriages. A notable exception was the rural district of Shenkeng, which had a relatively high approval rate of 35.09 percent.

The same pattern of increased support in urban cores and decreased support in suburban areas was repeated in Taoyuan, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. For example, Taoyuan City had an average of 34.52 percent, while rural Fuxing District only averaged 19.24 percent.

In the city of Taichung, the West, South, North, Nantun, and Xitun core districts all average a support rate of 33.5 percent. The outer districts of Shigang, Xinhua, Dongshi, and Heping averaged a much lower 20.97 percent.

The areas of Kaohsiung with the highest rate of approval were Yancheng, Xinxing, Niaosong, Mituo, Sanmin, and Dashe, with Yancheng having an extraordinarily high rate of approval at 38 percent, surpassing many northern cities. The areas with the lowest rate of approval were Liugui, Jiaxian, Neimen, Meinong, Shanlin, Taoyuan, Maolin, and Namaxia, all of which averaged around 19 percent.

The areas with the lowest approval rates in the country were the outter island counties of Lienchiang, Penghu, Kinmen, the western county of Miaoli, the central county of Nantou, and the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung. The approval rates in these areas ranged between 28 to 29 percent. In Nantou County, Lugu Township had the highest approval rate at 31.8 percent, while the lowest was Xinyi Township at 22.94 percent.

An analysis of the data found that the more an area supported same sex marriage, the fewer votes were given to the KMT and DPP candidates, but the decrease in votes for the DPP was less than that of the KMT.