On Saturday, November 24, the island nation of Taiwan voted against changing the country’s Civil Code to allow same-sex marriages in a major blow to the LGBT+ community.
The country held a referendum on several LGBT+ issues such as gender equality education, same-sex education and changing the definition of marriage to a union of ‘two people’ rather than a union of a ‘man and a woman’.
The majority of citizens voted no to all of the above but voted in favour of giving same-sex couples who live together legal protections, without changing the Civil Code.
A press release from the Marriage Equality Coalition of Taiwan stated, “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the referendum results today.
“However, we would like to express our gratitude toward those who have been supporting the cause throughout the process.
“The referendum results showed that the majority of the public was misled by the fake information disseminated by the anti-LGBTQ alliance, which caused serious misunderstanding towards the current LGBTQ education.”
Although the Taiwanese LGBT+ community are deeply upset by the result, they have vowed to continue to fight for LGBT+ rights in the country.
“Check in with your LGBT friends. You may just save a life,” the Chair of the Equal Marriage Coalition Taiwan, Jennifer Lu, wrote on Facebook.
“We’re hurting deeply now, but the road to equality is never smooth,” said Chu Yi, a 28-year-old digital marketer in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Taiwan LGBT+ rights campaigner Chi Jia Wei said, “More than two million voters, including many heterosexuals, really understand and respect LGBTQ+ communities.”
Although the referendums are officially non-binding, they are likely to affect the decisions of lawmakers heading into the 2019 elections in Taiwan.
In 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court had ruled that “equal protection of the freedom to marry” should be granted to same-sex couples and that not doing so was unconstitutional, but parliament to enact legislation.
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