Opponents of same-sex marriage yesterday rallied tens of thousands of people along Ketagalan Boulevard, in a massive protest against proposed Civil Code amendments.
Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, which organized the protest, said 80,000 people attended the demonstration, whose white-shirted crowd spilled out of Ketagalan Boulevard to encircle Jingfu Gate (景福門).
Organizers said that companion rallies in Taichung and Kaohsiung attracted an additional 90,000 participants.
While a huge rally outside the Legislative Yuan last month was marked by Christian hymns and prayer, yesterday’s event had a more ecumenical bent, with protesters dancing to the children’s song Lovable Family.
Participants waved pieces of paper calling for a referendum on same-sex marriage and parental control over children’s education, after being forbidden from bringing their own banners by event organizers.
A skit called for what it called a pro-homosexual curriculum to be “driven out” of schools, with members of the crowd also throwing around two large black balls while calling for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) to “roll out” (滾出去) of Taiwan — a pun on the Mandarin expression for “scram.”
Yu has been one of the main sponsors of amendments to the Civil Code, which would legalize same-sex marriage, also serving as co-convener of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee to which legislation has been referred.
Leaders from a cross-section of Buddhist, Daoist, Christian and other religious groups, which have joined the anti-gay marriage National Religious Alliance, were also featured.
“We oppose homosexual marriage being amended into the Civil Code because the family system comprised of marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society, and if you damage it, that will lead to marriage, family and the structure of society being completely wiped out,” alliance spokesman Chu Wu-hsien (朱武憲) said.
“Every person has a right to love, but there is also a proper order to love: We do not use the same manner to love animals as people, and love for a husband and wife is different from how you love friends,” Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference secretary-general Otried Chan (陳科) said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) was the only national legislator who was observed taking the stage.
“My hope is that we can combine tolerance with a principled stand,” he said, adding that he was not representing the KMT caucus at the rally.
Several rows of counter-protesters rallied across a section of Zhongshan Road next to National Taiwan University Hospital with at least one banner-bearing group breaking into the main protest site, sparking a stand-off.
A small group of people late on Friday night had previously covered sidewalks and walls around Ketagalan Boulevard, the 228 Peace Memorial Park and the DPP’s headquarters with “reverse “graffiti slogans in favor of same-sex marriage.
About 10 people used a small cargo truck to haul a pressure washer around the site, spraying water at high speeds onto metal stencils to strip off grime and leave behind slogans condemning “special law” proposals and calling for “marriage equality now.”
“We are washing away grime to combat the mudslinging aimed at us,” said Liu Yu (劉宇) a gay Internet celebrity on online academic bulletin board system Professional Technology Temple (PTT), who accompanied the activists.
“Everyone has to do their part on this issue, and we hope people will recognize our efforts even though we do not have nearly as much money as the opposition,” he said, referring to numerous front-page newspaper advertisements and prime-time TV slots purchased in recent weeks by same-sex marriage opponents.
A rival protest in favor of gay marriage is scheduled for Saturday.
Additional reporting by Ye Kuan-yu
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