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Thousands rally in support of equal marriage in Taiwan ahead of crucial vote

Thousands rally in support of equal marriage in Taiwan ahead of crucial vote

Tens of thousands of equal marriage supporters rallied in Taipei, Taiwan on Sunday (Photo: Facebook)

Tens of thousands of LGBTI rights advocates rallied in the Taiwan capital, Taipei on Sunday (18 November).

The Gender Equality Education Coalition organized the rally ahead of crucial referendums on LGBTI issues taking place on Saturday (24 November).

Organizers said 100,000 people attended.

Importantly, national referendums this week will poll residents on marriage equality.

Taiwan will decide whether to change its civil code to equalize marriage as between ‘people’ rather than ‘man and woman’.

Alternatively, it could enact separate, civil partnership legislation. But, LGBTI community members denounce such a move as failing to deliver genuine equality.

A referendum question on Saturday will also ask whether to dismantle parts of Taiwan’s LGBTI education policy.

Sunday’s rally at Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei included speeches and performances by politicians, musicians and filmmakers.

Saturday’s vote includes referendum questions launched by both pro- and anti- equal marriage campaigners. Attendees ,therefore, practiced how to vote in the referendum.

It culminated in a performance by Heavy metal band Chthonic, which is fronted by legislator Freddy Lim.

Equal marriage ‘derailed’

Taiwan’s path to becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage has been ‘derailed’.

In May 2017, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as between ‘a man and a woman’ was unconstitutional.The country’s highest court gave lawmakers two years to legislate.

But, legislators were slow to act. And, last month, anti-equal marriage campaigners petitioned the government for referendums.

On 24 November, therefore, Taiwan will head to the polls.

Nearly 140,000 people attended Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade last month. The 16th annual event was the largest ever.

Now, it looks like Thailand could beat Taiwan to become the first country for same-sex marriage in Asia.

Thailand’s military government is holding public consultations on same-sex unions. It may pass legislation before the end of the year.

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