Tai the Knot

Marriage Equality in Taiwan? Nation faces three marriage referendums

One year after courts ruled restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated its constitution, Taiwan faces a reckoning with three different LGBTQ referendums.

Equality advocates Miao Po-ya and Wang Ting-yu announced on October 11 that they had secured enough signatures to add two referendums to the ballot on November 24. Po-ya and Ting-yu began gathering signatures after anti-gay conservative groups had announced they had secured enough signatures to place a vote on the ballot that would effectively ban marriage equality and teaching LGBTQ history or gender equality in schools.

Related: Twitter erupts after Taiwan becomes the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage

Taiwan became the first Asian nation to give the OK to same-sex marriage in 2017. Courts ruled the one man-one woman marriage restrictions unconstitutional, and gave legislators two years to reform the legal system to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Action has come slow, however, giving anti-gay conservative groups an opening to place a referendum on the ballot that would effectively amend Taiwanese constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples.

The pro-equality measures will go on the same ballot as the anti-equality measures, effectively forcing citizens to settle the issue all at once. Taiwan is widely considered one of the most pro-queer nations in the otherwise conservative Asia, which holds to strict gender roles. For many people in the region, homosexuality is never even acknowledged or discussed.

Should the pro-equality referendums pass, pro-LGBTQ activists will have scored a major foothold in the struggle to bring equality to the continent.