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.
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.