disappointed by Saturday’s election results in Taiwan, which also saw voters approve a referendum opposing same-sex marriage.sai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party were not the only ones
The referendum had asked voters if marriage should be defined in Taiwan’s Civil Code as being restricted to the union of one man and one woman, as is currently the case. It received more “yes” votes than “no” and passed the 25 percent approval threshold.
In May 2017, the Council of Grand Justices in Taipei ordered that legislation be adopted within the next two years to enshrine marriage equality into law. Despite the initial excitement over this ruling, all efforts at accelerating the revision, which would make Taiwan the first in Asia to recognize gay marriage, have stalled. Meanwhile, conservative groups have refused to give up the fight, pushing this referendum which has created complications.
While a referendum cannot overturn a court ruling, it likely means that marriage equality will not be achieved in Taiwan through amendments to the Civil Code, but rather legislation will be passed to safeguard the rights of gay couples to enter same-sex unions. Already, a spokeswoman for the Executive Yuan has announced that such a law is being drafted and will be introduced for a vote in the legislature within three months, just ahead of the May 2019 deadline set by the court.
The results of the referendum came as a surprise to many who had believed that Taiwan was becoming more liberal and progressive with the DPP’s landslide victory in 2016 and public polling showing increasing support for gay marriage. However, Taiwanese voters also ended up approving a referendum against the teaching of same-sex education in primary and middle school classrooms.
Meanwhile, the single referendum that was put on the ballot by local gay rights activists failed.