Opponents protest bill to legalize gay marriage in Taiwan

Updated 2016-12-27 09:29:50 Global Times

Hundreds of same-sex marriage opponents in Taiwan took to the streets on Monday to protest against the passage of the first reading of the amendment drafts to the Civil Code, a move that could make the island the first region in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Witnesses in Taiwan reached by the Global Times said that the well-organized protestors moved from Taiwan's Legislative Yuan to the "Presidential Office," requesting Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen to step down.

Photos and videos provided by a witness surnamed Zhang showed that the protestors wearing white shirts and holding up signs that read "one man and one woman, a husband and a wife," "textbooks advocating free sex must be withdrawn from campus" and "step down, Tsai Ing-wen."

The island on Monday took a major step toward legalizing same-sex marriage as the Legislative Yuan approved the first reading of the draft amendments, which will undergo the second and third readings before they become law, the Taiwan-based Central News Agency reported.

A Taipei resident surnamed Chen, who is a gay, told the Global Times that he was thrilled to see the passage and many young people in Taiwan are more open to gay couples.

The decision also exhilarated gay rights activists in the Chinese mainland.

Ah Qiang, a well-known gay rights activist and founder of LGBT advocacy group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays China, told the Global Times that the Legislative Yuan's decision stands out as one of the notable landmarks in the progress of gay rights movements.

"As the gay rights movements have made slow progress in Asia, Taiwan stepped ahead and set a major milestone for the region," said Ah Qiang.

The passage is a hard-won success and may face obstacles in the future, but it will encourage more and more gay couples in the mainland to hold a wedding ceremony in Taiwan and inspire mainland legislators to think about the legalization of same-sex marriage, Ah Qiang added.

There are some organizations in Taiwan, especially those with religious background, which have been opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage, as they believe it would damage family values and compromise social stability, he said.

However, as in the West, the opposition will subside and it will just take some time, he said.

A survey conducted by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation showed that 70.7 percent of the respondents said there was no rush to legalize same-sex marriage while 22.9 percent considered it to be necessary.

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