Thu, Aug 08, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Support for same-sex marriage on the increase: poll

Staff writer, with CNA

More than 50 percent of respondents to a recent poll said they support same-sex marriage in Taiwan, according to a rights group.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they support the legalization of gay marriage, while 37 percent are against it and 10 percent declined to express an opinion, the results of the poll conducted by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights showed.

The poll also showed that only 25 percent of respondents would have supported gay marriage a decade ago, while 55 percent would have opposed it and 20 percent would have had no opinion on it.

This change in public opinion has been influenced by international developments, said Allen Li (李瑞中), a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology.

More than 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage since 2001 and the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law in June that recognizes lawful marriages as being only between a man and a woman, said Li, who was commissioned by the alliance to carry out research on the poll.

He said that of the Taiwanese that have changed their attitudes toward gay marriage in a positive direction, many are younger and better educated with no strong religious beliefs.

A further analysis of the poll’s results shows that about 55 percent of non-religious people, adherents to folk religions and Buddhists in Taiwan approve of gay marriage, while the approval rate is about 25 percent for Catholics and Christians.

The alliance’s secretary-general, Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔), said same-sex couples can be good parents and build well-functioning families just like heterosexual couples.

The poll, conducted by telephone between June 20 and July 9, collected 627 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the alliance is to propose a draft amendment to the Civil Code in September, and will seek lawmakers’ support for the proposal, which incorporates the issues of gay marriage, the civil partnership system, adoption and multi-person households.

It will also stage a Taiwanese-style marriage banquet in front of the Presidential Office on Sept. 7 to promote the legalization of gay marriage.

The alliance is seeking more than 1,000 people to participate in the banquet.

Taiwan is considered one of the more liberal countries in Asia on homosexuality and hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in the region each year.

The Ministry of Justice commissioned a study on same-sex marriages in Germany, France and Canada last year to better understand if such unions should be legalized in Taiwan.

A poll conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News in September last year, which surveyed 1,084 people, showed that 55 percent of respondents supported revisions of the law to allow same-sex marriage, compared with 37 percent who opposed such moves.

However, the poll also showed that 61 percent of respondents could not accept it if their children were gay, while 37 percent said they could.

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