Taiwan votes on same-sex union

World | REUTERS 10 Oct 2018

Taiwan will hold a public vote on whether its civil law should recognize same-sex marriage, two election officials said yesterday, reviving a debate over a separate law for civil unions between gay couples.

In Asia's first such ruling, the constitutional court declared in May last year that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a two-year deadline for legalization.

But in August an activist group proposed a vote on the issue to the Central Election Commission, saying a separate law would defend "family values."

After a month-long review, the commission decided November 24 as the date of the referendum, coinciding with mayoral and magisterial elections on the self-ruled island, two commission officials said.

The referendum will cover whether the scope of marriage should be limited to a bond between a man and a woman, and whether a special law is needed to protect same-sex couples' right to a "permanent union."

Activists who have long campaigned for same-sex marriage called the referendum "discriminatory" since it went against the 2017 ruling that current laws violate the right to freedom of marriage and equality.

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