Wed, Aug 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Group hits threshold for referendum

GAY RIGHTS?Three referendum proposals on homosexuality by a conservative alliance collected nearly 2 million signatures, far above the legal threshold of 281,745

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance yesterday said it had collected nearly 2 million signatures for three referendum proposals on homosexuality, which would run alongside the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections once they complete the registration process at the Central Election Commission, while two referendum proposals to advance gay rights promoted by the opposite camp are still 80,000 signatures short of their goal.

The alliance’s proposals ask: “Do you agree that marriage should be strictly defined as between a man and a woman in the Civil Code?”; “Do you agree that the right of same-sex couples to live together should be protected through ways that do not require amending the Civil Code?”; and “Do you agree that provisions in the Enforcement Rules for Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法施行細則) concerning homosexuality education should not be implemented at the elementary and junior-high school levels?”

According to the alliance, the proposals gathered 678,550, 633,450 and 670,100 signatures respectively, far exceeding the legal threshold of 281,745 signatures.

“This is not a war between conservatives and proponents of new ideas. It is about making a choice about our fundamental values,” alliance president Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩) told a news conference.

“Children encounter all kinds of problems in their lives and we always try our best to help them, but we will not allow any attempts to undermine values that are fundamental to families,” Tseng added.

While the group was ready to submit the 1,982,100 signed petition papers they had collected to the commission, officials were still occupied with referendum petitions submitted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday.

They were therefore forced to leave the papers on the commission’s porch after the news conference.

Meanwhile, two referendum proposals put forward by a group of LGBT rights advocates led by Social Democratic Party member Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) are also closing in on the referendum thresholds.

Their proposals ask: “Do you agree the rights of same-sex couples to marry each other should be protected in the Civil Code’s chapter on Marriage?” and “Do you agree that the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法) should require gender quality education to cover homosexuality, relationships and sex education and be taught at elementary and junior-high schools?”

The group on Monday estimated that it has collected between 220,000 and 230,000 signatures for each proposal, which means it needs 80,000 more before Aug. 30 to qualify.

Campaigns to promote the two proposals were launched on April 18, a day after the anti-LGBT proposals passed initial reviews by the commission.

However, they did not begin collecting signatures to meet the 281,745 threshold until July 24 due to the commission’s lengthy paperwork process.

For a referendum to pass, at least a quarter of the nation’s eligible voters must cast an affirmative vote, with the “yes” votes outnumbering the “no” votes.

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