Same-sex marriage campaigners in Taiwan were dealt a blow when the country in a referendum voted to restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman. Taiwanese voters cast ballots in 10 national referendums on Saturday, including on same-sex marriage and changing the country’s name at international sporting events.
Seven million voted in favour of the civil code recognising marriage as between a man and woman, while six million called for same-sex unions to be regulated under a separate law, The Guardian reported. Only three million voted in favour of giving same-sex couples equal marriage rights under the civil code.
In May 2017, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage but the government has been unable to implement its top court ruling in the face of conservative opposition. The court had given the government two years to implement its order. The government had said the referendum results would not impact the court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, but the results are expected to make it more difficult for lawmakers to pass legislation. Many lawmakers are up for re-election in 2020.
President quits as party chief
Meanwhile, the country’s President Tsai Ing-wen quit as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after losing two vital cities in the mayoral elections. Ahead of the elections, Tsai’s government had accused China of attempting to sway voters through fake news, which Beijing denied.
The mayoral posts in Taichung and Kaohsiung cities were won by the Kuomintang party, which is more friendly towards China, according to Global News.
After Tsai’s decision, China lauded Taiwan voters for her party’s defeat, claiming it showed that people wanted peace with Beijing. “The results reflected the strong will of the Taiwan public in hoping to continue to share the benefits of the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, and their strong wish in hoping to improve the island’s economy and people’s wellbeing,” a statement said, according to Reuters.