Referendum Defeat Leaves Taiwan Same-Sex Marriage Push in Doubt

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwanese voters have delivered a clear rejection of efforts to make the island the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

  • In a series of referendums Saturday, the public overwhelmingly backed proposals seeking to limit the right of homosexual couples to marry, and to restrict education of LGBT issues in schools. The results came despite Taiwan’s top court ruling in May 2017 that civil law restrictions barring homosexual couples from marrying were unconstitutional
Referendum Defeat Leaves Taiwan Same-Sex Marriage Push in Doubt

Key Takeaways

  • More than 7.5 million people voted in favor of defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, while fewer than 3 million were opposed, according to data on the Central Election Commission’s website
  • A proposal to ban education about LGBT issues in elementary and middle schools won by a similar margin
  • “Support for our referendums was higher than we had expected, suggesting the majority of people don’t agree with legal changes to the marriage system,” said Yu Hsin-yi of the Coalition of the Happiness of our Next Generation. “We don’t oppose rules for same-sex couples to live together. We just reject changes to marriage”
  • Voters rejected by a narrower margin the bid to change the name that athletes compete under in international competitions to “Taiwan" from “Chinese Taipei.” A total of 5.8 million were against, while 4.8 million were in favor
  • Under the terms of the referendums, the government is obliged to take concrete steps to realize the results of the votes


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  • Taiwanese voters delivered President Tsai Ing-wen’s party a resounding defeat in local elections held the same day, ousting it from several key strongholds
  • Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled in May 2017 that the island’s laws must be changed to allow gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to guarantee the right

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