President Ma Ying-jeou

President Ma Ying-jeou

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has said that he respects same-sex marriage but is unsure about when it might become legal in the island nation of over 23 million people.

Speaking to foreign journalists on Friday in Taipei, Ma said that when it came to gay marriage: “My attitude of respect and tolerance has always been the same.”

As reported by Focus Taiwan, he pointed out that when he was major of Taipei he helped make it a more accepting city for gays and lesbians.

“Taipei has become the most gay-friendly city in Asia with much acceptance and respect,” Ma said.

However, he admitted that it would take a “high degree of consensus” to see same-sex marriage become a reality in Taiwan.

A 2013 telephonic poll by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights showed that 53% of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage.

In 2003, a law was proposed to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption but it faced considerable opposition and has still not been voted on by lawmakers.

Taiwan is regarded as one of the most progressive states in the Asia when it comes to gay rights. Homosexuality is legal and discrimination against gays and lesbians is outlawed in the areas of employment and education.

The nation hosts one of the largest Pride events in the region, attended by around 65,000 people.

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