Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage

Groom marriage Credit Unsplash CNA Unsplash.

The people of Taiwan voted against the recognition of same-sex marriage in a series of referendums last weekend, reinforcing the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

The advisory vote was held on November 24. Three referendum questions in favor of traditional marriage passed by significant margins, while two questions in opposition failed, according to the Straits Times.

A Taiwanese high court ruled in 2017 that it was unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriages. The ruling gave the lawmakers of Taiwan two years to develop a same-sex marriage law, but the government has been in a deadlock. The two years will be up in May 2019.

The government used the newly revised referendum law, which offers the people a chance to vote on any question which receives 280,000 signatures. In order to pass, the questions must then be approved by a quarter of the eligible voters and exceed the number of votes in opposition.

Three referendum questions favored the traditional definition of marriage, including the question, "Do you agree that Civil Code regulations should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman?"

Two questions put forth by advocates for same-sex marriage did not pass, including the question, "Do you agree that the Civil Code marriage regulations should be used to guarantee the rights of same-sex couples to get married?" The Taiwanese people also voted against adding LGBT education to the national curriculum.

The referendum was an advisory vote. Shiau Hong-chi, a professor of gender studies at Shih-Hsin University, told the Guardian that same-sex marriage will still have to be handled in court.

"The referendum is a general survey, it doesn't have very strong legal implications," he said. "One way or another it has to go back to the court."

Earlier this month, Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei spoke on the Church's stance on same-sex marriage in a closed-door conference. According to UCA News, the archbishop stressed that the Church sees all people as brothers and sisters, but cannot change God's design for marriage.

While the Church does not condone discrimination, "we cannot support same-sex marriage and same-sex union," he said.

"During the review of the Civil Code by the Legislative Yuan, I have clearly stated the attitude of the Catholic Church: the legalization of same-sex marriage and same-sex union is not in line with our teachings. The Chinese Regional Bishops' Conferences in 2016 and 2017 respectively clearly stated our opposition."

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