Massive rally for marriage equality in Taiwan’s capital


(Pic: Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association)

In a remarkable show of support, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Taiwan’s capital, Tapei, to call for marriage equality.

On Saturday (10 Dec), which was marked internationally as Human Rights Day, up to 250,000 people gathered along Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office for a huge pop concert.

A host of stars from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines performed at the show and called for marriage rights to be extended to gay and lesbian couples.

The crowd waved rainbow flags and held up pink pamphlets with a rainbow map of the island nation that read: “Support Marriage Equality in Taiwan.”

One of the organisers of the event, the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association, described the concert as having “made history”.

Taiwan is regarded as one of the most progressive states in the region when it comes to LGBT rights. Homosexuality is legal and discrimination against gays and lesbians is outlawed in the areas of employment and education. It also hosts the largest Pride parade in Asia.

(Pic: Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association)

(Pic: Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association)

The nation could well be the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. Draft legislation that will allow same-sex couples to marry has been introduced in the Legislative Yuan (or parliament).

The proposals are expected to be discussed by lawmakers on 26 December. The day is likely to see large protests being held for and against the legislation. Much of the organised opposition to the proposals is from Christian groups.

President Tsai Ing-wen – who assumed office in May – has repeatedly affirmed her support for marriage equality but has said that it is up to lawmakers to make this a reality.

According to recent polls, the public is almost evenly split on issue, with 46.3 percent backing same-sex marriage rights and 45.4 percent opposing them.

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