Thousands of protesters
According to a report from Shanghaiist, thousands of people from Taiwan gathered on the streets for a final push to legalize same-sex marriage. Organizers estimated around 200,000 to 250,000 people attended the rally in front of the presidential palace on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei.
One of its most prominent supporters is none other than Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Over the weekend, a presidential spokesperson quoted Tsai saying, “All comrades have the right to marriage.”
The rally started during the weekend and comes as the bill legalizing same-sex marriage is on the verge of approval. However, it needs the support of just one more legislator in order for it to win a house majority. If this happens, Taiwan will be the first Eastern Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.
In the new proposed law, Taiwan’s definition of marriage will change by removing the terms “man” and “woman” and replacing it with “two people” instead.
Quartz reported that same-sex marriage in Taiwan faces tough resistance, especially from conservative Christian groups who says that passing the new bill will harm traditional family values. Those who are opposing same-sex marriage have also held their large-scale protests in the past few weeks.
David Tseng, spokesperson of The Alliance of Taiwan religious Groups for the Protection of Family, said that the protests against legalizing same-sex marriage had an estimate of 200,000 participants as well.
“They want to amend the law to do away with the ‘father’ and ‘mother’ altogether. But we are different from the West. In Eastern culture, we place great importance on filial piety to one’s father and mother. This is a virtue we must keep,” Tseng said.
Marriage equality was first presented by Taiwan’s executive branch in 2003 but it faced aggressive opposition from cabinet members and conservatives. Another attempt to pass same-sex marriage happened in 2013 but failed.
In last week’s Gay Pride celebration, President Tsai posted a video on Facebook to show her support on same-sex marriage. She said that all Taiwanese should have “the freedom to love and choose their own happiness.”