More than 100,000 people, including musicians, filmmakers and politicians, yesterday rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei to show support for same-sex marriage ahead of Saturday’s referendums on the issue.
“In this last week leading up to the referendums, we hope to encourage more people to vote yes on referendums No. 14 and 15, and to vote no in Nos. 10, 11 and 12,” the Gender Equality Education Coalition, which organized the event, said in a statement, referring to five referendums related to LGBT rights that are to be held alongside the nine-in-one elections on Saturday.
Referendum No. 14 aims to legalize same-sex marriage by amending the Civil Code and No. 15 requires that classes on homosexuality be included in compulsory education, while the other three advocate opposing stances.
Photo: Sung Chih-hsiung, Taipei Times
“We hope to protect every family and ensure they are respected equally,” the coalition said, adding that the rally was planned with the goals of promoting LGBT rights and “using music to help heal all the pain caused by the increased political polarization and misinformation spread by conservative groups.”
The rally featured performances by a dozen musicians from Taiwan and abroad, including Amber An (安心亞), Tai Ai-ling (戴愛玲), Lotus Wang (王彩樺), death metal band Chthonic and Hong Kong singer Takki Wong (王若琪).
Politicians and filmmakers also addressed the rally to express their support. Among them were film director Zero Chou (周美玲), Pegatron Corp chairman Tung Tzu-hsien (童子賢), New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐), and Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康).
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
The coalition estimated there were about 30,000 participants when the rally began at 1pm and said the number rose to more than 100,000 by 4pm.
The Council of Grand Justices on May 24 last year ruled that a provision in the Civil Code that defines marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
It asked the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage within two years, but did not specify which law should be amended.
Conservative groups proposed a referendum to keep the current definition of marriage in the Civil Code and another referendum to require that the rights of same-sex couples living together be protected by laws other than the Civil Code, citing the need to protect traditional family values.
They also proposed a referendum to ban homosexuality education at elementary and junior-high schools, saying it would protect children from being exposed to information inappropriate for their age. To counter them, pro-LGBT groups launched referendums Nos. 14 and 15.
The Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance and other conservative groups, whose advertisements have been seen on buses and on front pages of major newspapers, reportedly have an advertising budget of more than NT$100 million (US$3.24 million), while the coalition has so far raised just over NT$8 million.
The three referendums proposed by conservatives groups claim to be advocating “love for families,” but really promote “discrimination against homosexuality,” Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association president Hsu Chih-yun (徐志雲) said.
“They have been spreading lies that attack homosexuality and distort gender equality education everywhere. They just want homosexual people to disappear and so many have been hurt in this process,” Hsu said.
Legalizing same-sex marriage by amending the Civil Code would ensure same-sex couples enjoy the exact same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, Yu said, adding that requiring education about homosexuality would better protect children from bullying.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with