Conservative campaigners in Taiwan on Tuesday attempted to derail the country legalizing same-sex unions.
The anti-gay marriage group Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance submitted a petition with more than 600,000 signatures to election authorities asking for a referendum on the issue, according to the group’s Facebook page.
‘The referendum will give a choice on basic values, it’s a selfless act of justice,’ Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance wrote on their Facebook page. ‘We pushed the referendum with tears in our eyes, no one benefits from this,’ the post Tuesday said.
In May 2017, Taiwan became the first Asian nation to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
Grand Council of Justices ruled it was unconstitutional that the Civil Code did not allow same-sex couples to marry and gave legislators two years to make marriage equality law.
The ruling came after local activist, Chi Chia-wei, challenged the rejection of his and his long-time partner’s application to marry in 2013. A local Taipei registration office refused the pair a marriage certificate.
Since the court’s 2017 ruling, president Tsai Ing-Wen has been slow to act on legislation. Therefore, same-sex marriage will most likely become legal by default in May 2019.
More petitions to come in Taiwan
The Central Election Commission will now vet Tuesday’s petition. If approved, a referendum could take place in November.
In the case of a successful referendum, Taiwan may instead enact a separate law for civil unions between same-sex couples.
LGBTI equality campaigners have denounced such a move as discriminatory and failing to offer genuine equality.
The anti same-sex marriage group on Tuesday also lodged two other petitions with the commission. One to remove same-sex education from the school curriculum garnered 670,100 signatures.
Another to redefine the civil code’s definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman garnered 678,550 signatures.
Meanwhile, equal marriage campaigners have been preparing their own petitions and were expected to make an announcement Wednesday.