Taiwanese reject legalizing same-sex unions in referendum

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Source: Associated Press

By RALPH JENNINGS

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Voters in Taiwan passed a referendum asking that marriage be restricted to one man and one woman, a setback to LGBT couples hoping their island will be the first place in Asia to let same-sex couples share child custody and insurance benefits.

The vote on Saturday, organized by Christian groups that make up about 5 percent of Taiwan’s population and advocates of the traditional Chinese family structure, goes against a May 2017 Constitutional Court ruling. Justices told legislators then to make same-sex marriage legal within two years, a first for Asia, where religion and conservative governments normally keep the bans in place.

Although the ballot initiative is advisory only, it is expected to frustrate lawmakers mindful of public opinion as they face the court deadline next year. Many legislators will stand for re-election in 2020.

“The legislature has lots of choices on how to make this court order take effect,” said referendum proponent Chen Ke, a Catholic pastor in Taiwan and an opponent of same-sex marriage.

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