Taiwan votes to keep marriage laws traditional

by Angela Lu Fulton/WORLD , posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 (18 days ago)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BP) -- Three referendums supporting marriage between one man and one woman passed overwhelmingly in Saturday (Nov. 24) elections in Taiwan. The votes appeared to show that most citizens may still hold traditional values even though the country's highest court moved toward legalizing same-sex marriage in 2017.

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The question of whether Taiwan Civil Code should continue to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman received more than 7.6 million yes votes compared to 2.9 million voting no. Referendums need 4.94 million votes -- a quarter of eligible voters -- to be considered by the government.

Another referendum stating the Ministry of Education should not enforce LGBT curriculum in elementary and middle school passed with more than 7 million yes votes. And a ballot initiative that would allow same-sex couples to enter a civil union separate from "marriage as defined by the Civil Code" was approved with 6.4 million yes votes.

Meanwhile, two referendums in support of same-sex marriage did not garner enough votes to pass.

Taiwan was set to become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage after the country's high court ruled the Civil Code's definition of marriage was unconstitutional. The grand justices ordered that the law be amended or another law legalizing same-sex marriage be introduced within two years.

The ruling reportedly faced strong opposition from Taiwanese Christians, who make up only 5 percent of the population, as well as others supportive of traditional families. The pro-family Happiness for the Next Generation Alliance collected nearly 2 million signatures to get the three proposals on Saturday's ballot.

"People used their ballots to make their voice heard," Tseng Hsien-ying, the group's president, told Focus Taiwan. "Family values and inclusion of those values in the education of the next generation are mainstream public opinions that the government should heed."

The Taiwanese government said that it still plans to create new laws in accordance with the court ruling, but the eventual legislation will likely be weaker. The BBC reported the government may end up giving same-sex couples legal protection without allowing them to marry.

Angela Lu Fulton writes for WORLD Digital, a division of WORLD Magazine (world.wng.org) based in Asheville, N.C. Used by permission.
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