Taiwan marriage equality, gender identity education take a hit at the polls

Results from LGBTQ referendums held on Nov. 24 in Taiwan are in, and by a disappointing lop-sided vote, the Civil Code will remain unchanged when it comes to legalizing same-sex marriage, reports The Taipei News.

In hopes of deterring marriage equality, conservative groups collected signatures for a referendum on the question, essentially giving the majority the opportunity to vote on the rights of a minority. While they were at it, they also asked about rolling back LGBTQ-inclusive sex education standards, which have been in place since 2004.

Freedom to Marry, which continues to monitor marriage equality fights internationally, called the results “disappointing,” but insisted lawmakers are still bound by the courts to allow same-sex couples to marry by May of next year.

Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement following the results, “Tonight, we send our support to advocates and families in Taiwan who are hurting after a disappointing election result. Over the last year, anti-LGBT organizations — bankrolled and instigated by US-based groups like the National Organization for Marriage — spent millions on scare tactics and deceit, to spread lies about gay and lesbian people and harm families.

“While the results of the referenda are not what we hoped for, it is clear that the movement for marriage in Taiwan will not be deterred. Nothing about tonight’s votes undermines the landmark court ruling affirming that the freedom to marry is a right guaranteed by Taiwan’s Constitution. And nothing changes the clear mandate from the Court: That by May 2019, lawmakers must update the civil code to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

Taiwan’s Education Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong reiterated today (Nov. 26) that the passage of Referendum 11 (Do you agree that the Ministry of Education and individual schools should not teach homosexual-related education in schools?) does not mean the Ministry of Education will stop promoting gender equality education.

The minister said Taiwan would continue to implement gender equality education in elementary and middle schools, but same-sex related content will be reviewed for possible revisions by the referendum results.

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