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Taiwan’s LGBTI activists launch equal marriage referendum campaign

Taiwan’s LGBTI activists launch equal marriage referendum campaign

LGBTI activists in Taipei, Taiwan launch equal marriage referendum campaign

LGBTI activists in Taiwan have launched a campaign to secure votes in an equal marriage referendum likely to take place in November.

“Our goal is to win the referendum so the government and parliament will understand the majority of people support marriage equality,” chief organizer Jennifer Lu told Gay Star News by phone on Wednesday (August 29).

The Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan launched the campaign in response to a petition  by an anti equal marriage group.

The petition of more than 600,000 signatures, presented to election authorities on Tuesday, asked for a referendum on the issue.

In May 2017, Taiwan’s top court ruled it was unconstitutional that the Civil Code did not allow same-sex couples to marry. It gave legislators two years to make marriage equality law.

The Central Election Commission is currently vetting Tuesday’s petition organized by the group named Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance.

If approved, a referendum would likely take place on November 24 alongside local elections.

Separate but equal

President Tsai Ing-Wen promised equal marriage during her election campaign in 2015. However, she has been slow to act on legislating changes to the Civil Code dictated in 2017.

Therefore, in the case of a successful referendum for anti-gay campaigners, Taiwan may instead enact a ‘separate but equal’ law for civil unions between same-sex couples.

‘This kind of proposal is not equality,’ said Lu. ‘Only changing the civil code will bring equality to same sex couples in Taiwan.’

One million ‘no’s

The ‘Fight for Happiness’ campaign wants one million people to register ‘no’ before the upcoming referendum.

The campaign will launch a new website September 10. It will organize 60 events across the country in the next three months to encourage people to vote in November.

So far, 31 organizations, 11 individual partners, more than 30 local council candidates  and 400 local businesses have joined the campaign.

‘Start the conversation right now,’ urged Lu.

‘Talk to your friends and family,’ she said. ‘Make them understand what is real love and let’s work together to create a better future for Taiwan.’

The campaign is also encouraging ‘no’ votes for two more referendums. One on removing same-sex education and another on changing the civil code’s definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Petitions for these referendums were submitted by the anti equal marriage group on Tuesday.

A separate campaign, Vote4LGBT, is also petitioning for a referendum on the issue. It had collected 270,000 signatures as of Wednesday, according to the group’s Facebook page.