The voters in Taiwan have chosen in Saturday’s referendum to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It is a setback for activists who want homosexual marriage to become legal in the Asian country.
Although the final results were not yet known on Saturday night, the Taiwan Electoral Council announced that at least six million people cast a vote for the traditional definition of a marriage. With this the referendum has reached the validity threshold.
The reason for the referendum was a decision by the Taiwan Supreme Court. That ruled in May 2017 that couples of the same sex have the constitutional right to marry. The Taiwanese government got two years from the judges to arrange that.
The country has been divided up to the bone over the last weeks. Proponents and opponents of same-sex marriages carried out great campaigns to win the voter’s favor.
According to the Taiwanese government, the referendum result does not mean that the judgment of the Supreme Court is rejected. It is expected that the Cabinet will soon propose a different form of commitment – such as a ‘cohabitation contract’ – as an alternative to homosexual marriage.
Taiwan is seen as one of the most liberal countries in Asia. It is the annual scene of the largest Pride parade of the continent. Taiwan is not recognized as a country by most countries; although it is a de facto independent state, China sees it as a renegade province.