Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - Page 3 News List

‘Bando’ rally to be held at presidential office

Staff writer, with CNA

A rally in the form of a Taiwanese-style wedding banquet, or bando, will be held in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Sept.7 in support of the legalization of same-sex marriage and other gay rights.

The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, which is organizing the event, is scheduled to propose a Civil Code draft amendment to the legislature next month and seek lawmakers’ support for the amendment, which incorporates the issues of gay marriage, the civil partnership system, adoption and multi-person households.

Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔), the secretary-general of the alliance, said yesterday that at least 80 tables will be set up on Ketagalan Boulevard and that more than 800 people have so far registered to attend the bando.

The local bando culture is a form of clamorous eating around a round table, often in an outdoor space, to mark important events such as weddings, temple celebrations and elections.

“Holding the wedding banquet in front of the Presidential Office is aimed at symbolizing the hope that our marriages can be recognized by the state,” Chien said.

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Sandee Chan (陳珊妮) will open the event, followed by video showings and talks that will introduce the development of gay rights movements in Taiwan and around the world, as well as propose the next step Taiwan should take in this regard, Chien said.

A campaign that started on Sept. 7 last year has so far collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of the amendment, among them that of pop diva Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), known as A-Mei, the alliance said.

Several other celebrities, including girl group SHE, pop singer Elva Hsiao (蕭亞軒) and actress and singer Rene Liu (劉若英), have also offered signed T-shirts to help the alliance raise funds to campaign for the legislation, it said.

Rights for same-sex couples have been improving around the world recently, such as in New Zealand, where same-sex marriage became legal on Aug. 19, Chien said, urging the government to ensure equal rights for homosexual Taiwanese.

Taiwan is considered one of the more liberal countries in Asia in terms of homosexual issues, and hosts a large gay pride parades each year.

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

The poll, however, also showed that 61 percent of respondents would not accept their children being gay, while 37 percent said they would be comfortable with it.

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