Protesters against same-sex marriage held a colorful rally along Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei yesterday, even as divisions diminished the turnout.
About 100 people associated with the Rescue Taiwan Hope Alliance and other groups gathered along the avenue in front of the Presidential Office Building, with small groups periodically breaking into chants condemning same-sex marriage and calling for “sexual liberation” to be removed from school curricula.
In a skit, protesters piled placards depicting pro-homosexual marriage politicians as scorpions, snakes, tarantulas and toads onto a boat which they symbolically “sent off.”
“In our view, a huge amount of controversy has already been caused, and the government is not prepared to address the issue, so it should be put aside temporarily,” alliance spokesman Chao Ying-ling (趙瑩玲) said, adding that the Council of Grand Justices’ review on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, that is to start on Friday, should take into account traditional culture and family values.
Near the center of the protest site, tents were allotted by event organizers to homosexual protesters, including gay Internet celebrity Liu Yu (劉宇), who is known for covertly participating in anti-homosexual marriage protests to record satirical online videos.
“They told us not to make a scene and that they were willing to give us two tents, while urging us not to argue and instead take a look at their ideas,” he said. “It is not too bad — of all the events I have attended, this is the first time I’ve been directly invited.”
“In the past, homosexual protesters were barred, even though we often talk about love and tolerance,” said a woman surnamed Hsu (許), who was the event’s main organizer, financial sponsor and host. “In ordinary life, there are homosexual friends all around us, and there is no need to exclude or create conflict and opposition.”
The concern over education confusing children about homosexuality was the main reason for the protest, not opposition to homosexual rights, she said, adding that specific laws could be amended to give homosexual couples equal inheritance, medical and other rights without the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“Legalizing same-sex marriage would serve as the basis for numerous changes to school curricula,” she said.
Numbers at the protest were limited by a rumor among church members that the “sending off” boat skit would actually be a religious ritual, which deterred many Christians from attending, she said.
A new group at the event was the Taipei School Education Union, with almost a dozen members attending wearing their official union vests.
“As teachers, we have to be willing to stand up for our consciences,” said union president Lee Hui-lan (李惠蘭), criticizing the gender equality section of current curriculum guidelines. “Teaching the idea of a ‘gender spectrum’ just serves to confuse elementary students before their natural gender identities solidify.”
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