Taiwan Set for Marriage Equality Vote After Referendum Crosses Signature Threshold

Within the next 24 hours, anti-LGBTQ groups in Taiwan are expected to make a major announcement: They have reportedly collected enough signatures to put a referendum banning marriage equality on the ballot in November.

Last year the Council of Grand Justices ruled that sections of the Taiwan Civil Code limiting marriage to one man and one woman violate the constitution. But unlike the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, the landmark ruling did not serve to legalize marriage equality in the self-governing Chinese territory. The court merely offered its legal opinion.

Instead judges gave the legislature two years to either amend the civil code or draft a separate law allowing LGBTQ couples to wed. If the government did not act before that time, marriage equality would automatically become the law of the land.

Although lawmakers have yet to follow up by passing a same-sex marriage bill in the Legislative Yuan, critics of the ruling responded with their own proposal. Back in April, anti-LGBTQ groups met the preliminary requirements to begin gathering signatures for a referendum banning marriage equality. Read more via INTO

Taiwan gay marriage faces new hurdle with referendum proposal

TAIPEI: Conservative campaigners on Tuesday (Aug 28) threw a roadblock in the path to legalising same-sex unions in Taiwan, proposing a public vote on the issue and saying any reforms would jeopardise "family values".

Taiwan's top court ruled in May 2017 that preventing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and gave a two-year deadline for its legalisation - which would make the island the first place in Asia to do so. But there has been little progress on the issue since then, with President Tsai Ing-wen saying society is still divided on the issue.

The anti-gay marriage Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance submitted a referendum petition to election authorities on Tuesday to try to prevent the civil code from being amended to recognise same-sex partnerships. If successful, the move may instead require a separate law to be enacted for civil unions between same-sex couples - a move that gay marriage campaigners say would be discriminatory and offer fewer legal protections.

"The bottom line of basic family values shouldn't be overturned," alliance spokesman Tseng Hsien-ying told reporters after the petition was brought to the election commission. "The collapse of the family system will deal a huge blow to society."

Last year's court decision did not give specific guidance on how same-sex relationships should be legislated.

The petition collected more than 678,000 signatures. If vetted and approved by the Central Election Commission, the referendum will be held to coincide with local elections in November. Read more via Channel News Asia