Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Civic groups took to the streets of northern, central and southern Taiwan on Saturday in support of traditional marriage and family values, and united in vocal opposition to same-sex marriage.
The Happiness of The Next Generation Alliance (下一代幸福聯盟) and other civic groups participated in the afternoon's activities, which were attended by an estimated 200,000 people nationwide, including 100,000 in Taipei, more than 50,000 in Kaohsiung and over 40,000 in Taichung, according to the organizers.
In Taipei, tens of thousands filled Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in the afternoon.
Participants dressed in white tops and carried placards that read "the public has the right to define what constitutes marriage and family." Protesters said that if the government wanted to legally redefine marriage, it should do so by holding a referendum on the issue.
They also called for the educational curriculum for children to be approved by parents and those elements that run counter to the traditional definition of marriage and family to be withdrawn.
The organizers distributed petitions among participants as part of a campaign to recall legislators who have supported the government's efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.
Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator who first introduced the amendment to the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage, bore the brunt of demonstrator's anger.
Participants kicked a large plastic ball, with her name written on it, all the way from Gongyuan Road near 228 Peace Park to Jin Fu Gate.
Representatives from several Christian and Buddhist groups also took part in the event.
Chu Wu-hsien (朱武獻), one of their representatives, said that the religious groups adamantly opposed the revision of the Civil Code, as it would "destroy the values of the family."
However, out of respect for the LGBT community, the religious groups did say they would support a special law for same-sex partners and same-sex marriage to provide legal protections for those who wanted them, though such a law "would have to be reviewed rigorously before we give it endorsement."
A group of more than 100 supporters of same-sex marriage dressed in colorful attire and waving rainbow flags also gathered at the venue in Taipei. Police tried to keep the two groups apart to avoid clashes, but some still managed to break through the cordon.
Wu Hsin-en (吳馨恩), a transgender woman who advocates LGBT rights, attempted to push through the crowd topless to a stage set up on Ketagalan Boulevard, but was led away by police.
Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩), a representative of parents in the alliance, said the legislature should immediately stop reviewing bills related to same-sex unions.
Meanwhile, civic groups in support of same-sex unions such as Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association (台灣同志諮詢熱線) plan to stage a concert on Dec. 10, to coincide with World Human Rights Day, also on Ketagalan Boulevard.
DPP legislators originally planned to revise the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage, but in the wake of such large scale protests are now considering drafting a special law for such unions.
(By Chen Chih-chung and Lilian Wu)