A quarter of a million Taiwanese took to Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard this weekend in a massive show of support for the legalisation of gay marriage. The rally came in response to earlier Christian-led anti-gay protests which drew 80,000 protesters to oppose the changes, which have been proposed by President Tsai Ing-wen.
The issue had been given further impetus with the suicide of a French university lecturer on the island who had been kept away from his chronically ill long-term partner by that man’s family. After his Taiwanese boyfriend passed away, the French partner also killed himself.
But anti-gay rights campaigners have been opposing any changes.
“Every person has a right to love, but there is also a proper order to love: We do not use the same manner to love animals as people, and love for a husband and wife is different from how you love friends,” Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference secretary-general Otried Chan (陳科) said. Other protesters have made wild claims about the impact the bill would have on heterosexuals, inaccurately claiming for example that the changed marriage law would outlaw the terms “mother” and “father”.
Such statements have led to Taiwanese gay rights protesters adopting the catchphrase, “love doesn’t lie”.
The bill will receive its final test in parliament in the first quarter of next year.