Thu, Aug 28, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Taipei Watcher: Election time

Where the contenders for Taipei mayor stand on gay marriage

By Eddy Chang  /  Staff reporter

Meanwhile, independent candidate Neil Peng (馮光遠) is the friendliest to the LGBT community. Peng is a co-scriptwriter of director Ang Lee’s (李安) 1993 film, The Wedding Banquet (喜宴), the first mainstream gay movie in Taiwan. Soon after social group Watchout (沃草) called on all the candidates to express their views on marriage equality, he was the first to show support.

“I always take actions to support marriage equality and even served as a chief witness at a wedding ceremony for a gay couple on Feb. 28 this year,” Peng said, promising to keep participating in Taipei’s gay parade every year, revise school textbooks to increase students’ understanding of the issue and lobby the legislature to pass the draft bill promptly.

As for independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is backed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), he drew some criticism at first.

On Feb. 8, Ko told the Storm Media Group (風傳媒) that he planned to cast an “invalid vote” (廢票) on marriage equality, claiming that the law already covered most of the rights of gays and lesbians. The physician also used the contentious and pejorative word “mutation” (突變) to describe them, instead of the word “variation” (變異) that is commonly used. But Ko quickly learned from the LGBT community and made a U-turn on the issue. When attending a music festival held to mark the 228 Incident three weeks later, he walked to the stand of the TAPCPR at the event to show his support for marriage equality and signed a postcard at the stand to urge the legislature to put the draft bill on its agenda soon.

Interestingly, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also attended the event and showed her support. As she wrote on a postcard, “To legislators: Please support the draft bill for marriage equality, and put it on your agenda for discussion as soon as possible.”

Can President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Lien learn from Tsai and Ko in a timely manner before the Nov. 29 elections? Let’s wait and see.

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