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LGBTI Taiwanese are crowdfunding their fight for equal marriage

LGBTI Taiwanese are crowdfunding their fight for equal marriage

Campaigners will spend the money on advertising. (Photo: Campaign website)

LGBTI activists in Taiwan are crowdfunding a campaign to win this month’s referendum on marriage equality.

The campaign had raised more than US$50,000 by Thursday (1 November). They will spend the money on advertising.

Taiwan will head to the polls on 24 November to vote on whether to change its Civil Code to recognize equal marriage. The other option is to enact seperate legislation for same-sex couples, similar to the UK’s civil partnerships.

Equal marriage campaigners warn that anti-LGBTI groups have a budget of more than US$3 million.

Court ruling

It comes after the Constitutional Court last year ruled denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional. It was the first such ruling in Asia.

Eighteen months later and Taiwan’s LGBTI community are frustrated that they now have to embark on a referendum campaign despite the ruling of the highest court.

They say parliament was too slow to act on the court ruling, giving anti-LGBT rights activists the chance to petition the government for a referendum.

Taiwan’s LGBTI community is worried that the lead up to 24 November will be marked by ugly tactics and misinformation spread by anti-LGBTI groups.

Although Taiwan is largely liberal, a small but powerful Christian minority is fighting marriage equality by both spreading misinformation about the LGBTI community and pressuring lawmakers.

This week, Taiwan’s election committee came under fire as it organized televised debates ahead of the referendum. Anti-equal marriage groups posed as pro-equal marriage campaigners, meaning they would have controlled both sides of the public debates.

Taiwan pride

Nearly 140,000 people attended Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade on Saturday (27 October). The 16th annual event was the largest ever.

LGBTI supporters swarmed from all over the region to attend the pride, which is the largest of its kind in Asia.

This year’s event drew attention to an equal marriage referendum taking place in Taiwan on November 24.

‘We need to take the opportunity of this parade, to bring our power together and vote right in the referendum’, said legendary LGBTI Taiwanese activist Chyi Jia Wei. ‘We still have the last mile unfinished’.

Last year, marriage equality advocates in Australia successfully ran a campaign last year to win the country’s national vote on the issue.

They’ve now set up a fundraising effort to help the Taiwan campaign and have raised more than US$10 million.

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