Marriage Equality debate heats up in Taiwan

A few weeks ago organisers of a rally to protest against the marriage equality movement in Taiwan drew out thousands of protesters.

The Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation said 80,000 people attended the demonstration. The protesters whose white shirts and carried signs voicing their opposition to proposed amendments to the country’s laws.  The large crowd filled Ketagalan Boulevard, the wide street that leads to Taiwan’s Presidential Building.

Supporters of marriage equality also staged a rally, also bringing thousands of people into the streets, this time pieces of paper with rainbows. Some estimates put their crowd at 250,000 people, but police estimates were lower.

As the debate over marriage equality heats up in Taiwan, the arguments are similar to those heard here in Australia.

A photo posted by tAKER (@josephtaker) on

Opposition to marriage equality is spearheaded by the National Religious Alliance. After their rally a spokesperson told the Taipei Times that same sex marriage would lead to the structure that holds society together being wiped out.

“We oppose homosexual marriage being amended into the Civil Code because the family system comprised of marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society, and if you damage it, that will lead to marriage, family and the structure of society being completely wiped out,” alliance spokesman Chu Wu-hsien said.

Human Rights Watch have responded to the concerns that marriage equality leads to the downfall of society by highlighting that this has not happened in any of the countries where same sex weddings have been embraced.

While another opponent of marriage equality said the way husbands and wives love each other is different to other kinds of love.

“Every person has a right to love, but there is also a proper order to love: We do not use the same manner to love animals as people, and love for a husband and wife is different from how you love friends,” Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference secretary-general Otried Chan said.

There has also been opposition to LGBT rights being included in school’s curriculum, with opponents raising concern about ‘gender fluidity’ being included in the education system.

Polls have shown the country is divided on the issue.  Recent surveys have reported that 46.3 percent support marriage equality, 45.4 percent oppose it, but more than 65 percent of those aged under 40 are in favor of change.

President Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected just six months ago, has been a vocally supporter of marriage equality since 2015 but many are frustrated that she hasn’t acted on the issue.

Following the rally for marriage equality the President reaffirmed her support with a spokesperson calling for people to be less confrontational during the debate.

“The president hopes there will be less confrontation and less castigation in our society and that there will be more comprehensive legal protection of gay rights,” a spokesperson for the President told the media.

The government has held two hearings on the issue and a series of speakers both for and against marriage equality put forward their case.

Among the speakers arguing against marriage equality was American activist Katy Faust.

Faust, who was raised by lesbians is an outspoken critic of marriage equality around the world. She visited Australian in 2015 and toured the country as a guest of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Faust told Lifesite News that she had met many Taiwanese parents who were too afraid to speak out against marriage equality but had expressed their concern about what was being taught in schools.

“Parents were especially concerned that the redefinition of marriage would validate and encourage an already shocking pro-LGBT sex-ed program,” Faust said.  “The Taiwanese people are both courteous and tolerant, but parents have been stunned at the graphic nature of the sex-ed programs and they fear that redefining marriage will result in further radicalization of school curriculum.”

There are currently three bills for marriage equality before the nation’s parliament, one presented by each of the three major parties. A vote on the issue is expected in February 2017.

OIP Staff

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