Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Gay activists to form bloc for Da-an district election

By Loa Iok-Sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Gay rights activists yesterday announced that they would form a voting bloc to support gay-friendly candidates in the upcoming legislative by-election in Taipei City’s Da-an District (大安).

“We’ve had six gay pride parades in Taipei in the past six years and more than 18,000 people took part in last year’s event — that’s where the voters are,” chief coordinator of last year’s gay pride parade, Lee Ming-chao (李明照), told a news conference.

“In the process of mobilizing the gay and lesbian community in Taipei, we estimated that around 10 percent of voters in Da-an District are gay — including myself. We can surely become a deciding minority if we stand together.”

He predicted that the turnout for the by-election would be lower than the 60.47 percent for last year’s legislative election.

“I’ve observed that Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] voters are not as interested in the by-election because they are not happy about how the party handled [former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator] Diane Lee’s (李慶安) dual citizenship case, so the turnout could be lower,” Lee Ming-chao said.

He said his group would come up with a list of recommended candidates and mobilize gay voters to support them.

“Recommendations will be made based on whether the candidate supports the six gay-friendly policy goals we have raised, and the candidate’s past record and performance in supporting gay rights,” Lee said.

The six policy goals are: supporting minority sexuality rights, supporting an anti-discrimination bill for all minority groups, supporting freedom of sexual expression, opposing police abuse of minority groups, supporting rights for gay partners and supporting inclusion of gay partners in the welfare system.

After asking all seven registered candidates to sign the six-policy agreement, four returned with a positive response — Wen Ping-yuan (溫炳原) of the Green Party Taiwan, Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) of the Democratic Progressive Party, Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) of the KMT and the non-partisan candidate Liu Yi-chun (劉義鈞).

Of the four, Wen and Chou attended yesterday’s press conference. While Chou reiterated that he would continue to fight for gay and lesbian rights if elected, Wen panned Chiang for not doing enough for the gay community during his seven terms as Taipei City councilor.

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