Will Taiwan Become First In Asia To Okay Gay Marriage?

Will Taiwan Become First In Asia To Okay Gay Marriage?

James Kirk
Author James Kirk
Collection #StoriaNews

Taiwan is voting in a referendum on whether to become the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage.

Taiwan’s top court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, giving parliament two years to amend laws or pass new legislation.

But surveys last week suggest the island is unlikely to vote for change, reports the BBC.

The issue is one of 10 voters are being asked to consider, including one that involves tensions with China. This is regarding nomenclature: how Taiwan wants to be called at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Taiwan or Chinese Taipei.

Currently, Taiwan participates as Chinese Taipei, the name agreed upon with China in the 1980s.

This is because Taiwan's status is sensitive. The island has been self-ruling since 1949, but China views it as a breakaway province it will reunite with one day.

The referendums are running alongside local elections. Polls close at 16:00 local time (08:00 GMT), with the first results expected later on Saturday.

The issue is actually the subject of two separate referendums on Saturday, and they have been proposed by rival groups.

Conservative groups have asked whether marriage should be legally defined as between a man and a woman, while LGBT activists are lobbying for equal marriage rights.

The two sides have also put other issues to voters, including rival questions on education around LGBT issues in schools.

According to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Public Opinions Foundation, 77 percent of respondents believe marriage should be legally defined as only between a man and a woman.

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