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Over 50% support same-sex marriage in Taiwan: poll

2013/08/06 17:13:54

Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) Over 50 percent of respondents to a recent poll support same-sex marriage in Taiwan, according to the survey results released Tuesday by a local rights group.

A total of 53 percent of the respondents said they are for the legalization of gay marriage, 37 percent are against, while 10 percent have no opinion, according to the poll by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.

The poll results also show that only 25 percent of the respondents would have supported gay marriage a decade ago, while 55 percent would have opposed and 20 percent would have had no opinion.

Public opinion in Taiwan over the past 10 years has been influenced by international development, said Li Jui-chung, a joint research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of Sociology.

Over 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage since 2001 and the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law in June that recognizes lawful marriages as only between a man and a woman, said Li, who was commissioned by the alliance to carry out research on the poll.

He observed that 25 percent of Taiwanese have changed their attitudes toward gay marriage in a positive direction in the past decade. Most of them are younger, better-educated Taiwanese without religious beliefs, Li added.

A further analysis of the poll shows that around 55 percent of non-religious believers, folk religion adherents and Buddhists in Taiwan approve of gay marriage, while the approval rate is about 25 percent for Catholics and Christians.

Chien Chih-chieh, secretary-general of the alliance, said same-sex couples could also be good parents and build well-functioning families like heterosexual couples.

The poll, conducted by phone June 20 to July 9, collected 627 effective samples. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the alliance will propose a Civil Code draft amendment to the Legislature in September and seek lawmakers' support for the amendment, which incorporates the issues of gay marriage, the civil partnership system, adoption and multi-person households.

It will also hold a Taiwan-style marriage banquet in front of the Presidential Office Sept. 7 to rally for the legalization of gay marriage. The alliance is seeking over 1,000 people to participate in the banquet.

Taiwan is considered one of the more liberal countries in Asia on homosexual issues. It hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in Asia each year.

The Ministry of Justice commissioned a study on same-sex marriages in Germany, France and Canada last year to better understand if such unions should be legalized in Taiwan.

A poll conducted by the United Daily News in September 2012, which surveyed 1,084 respondents, showed that 55 percent of the respondents agreed to law revisions to allow same-sex marriage, compared with 37 percent in opposition.

The poll, however, also showed that 61 percent of the respondents cannot accept their children being gay, while 37 percent said they could.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Christie Chen)