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Activists gather in NYC to raise awareness of Taiwan’s vote on same-sex marriage

Activists gather in NYC to raise awareness of Taiwan’s vote on same-sex marriage

Taiwan's Rainbow flag

Activists and LGBTI allies gathered in the New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn last week, to raise of the upcoming vote on same-sex marriage in Taiwan.

Over 100 people raised attended the event to raise awareness of the vote which will take place in Taiwan on 24 November.

Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, spoke to the crowd about his experiences in fighting for marriage equality in the US, Gay City News reported.

‘Everything you do now really will make a difference, whether it’s calling and writing and encouraging your friends back in Taiwan to vote,’ Wolfson said.

‘That makes a difference. Don’t kid yourself. That’s how we won, by having those conversati­ons.’

Though Taiwan is widely considered the most LGBTI-friendly in Asia, there has been considerable pushback for marriage equality.

Local conservative groups have reportedly been backed by fellow American organizations, such as the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, which opposed same-sex marriage in the US.

Taiwanese-American activist Lance Chen-Hayes said he was surprised by how widespread the campaign is.

‘I’ve seen banners hanging from storefronts, I’ve seen banners on buses, I’ve seen people handing out flyers in cities and rural areas. It’s horrible,’ Chen-Hayes said.

Going to the polls

If Taiwan votes in favor of marriage equality, it will be the become the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

The vote comes after last year’s ruling by the country’s constitutional court which decreed that same-sex couples should have the right to marry. Lawmakers were given two years to amend the constitution before it would become law.

However, the move to legalize same-sex marriage received push-back from anti-LGBTI groups. LGBTI activists in Taiwan reacted to this by requesting the constitutional amendment be put to the vote.

Taiwan has maintained an image as extremely LGBTI-friendly.

In October, a record-breaking 137,000 people attend Taipei Pride the country’s capital. The largest Pride festival in Asia, the theme of this year’s event was ‘vote for equality’.

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