A coalition of more than 120 civic groups protested yesterday outside the Taiwanese parliament in Taipei demanding the legalization of gay marriage.
Organizers, the Marriage Equality Revolution Front, estimated 20,000 people participated in the ‘rainbow siege’ outside the Legislative Yuan but media reports put the number at 2,000-4,000.
Activists attached 112 padlocks with each legislator’s name on them to the parliament gates.
‘Equality keys’ were sent to legislators last month and those in support of gay marriage were invited to symbolically unlock the padlocks at the protest.
Of the 21 legislators to accept the invitation, four were from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party, 14 from the opposing Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and two independents.
The newly appointed DPP co-chair of the judiciary committee Yu Mei-nu was one of them.
She reiterated her intention to put the Equal Marriage Bill on the agenda of this parliamentary session and announced a public hearing on gay marriage later this month, ahead of the islandwide Taiwan Pride parades on 25 October.
She said experts, scholars and representatives of civic groups on both sides of the issue would be invited to speak before preliminary plans are submitted to the Ministry of Justice for review.
Hsiao-Fong, co-ordinator of the NTU Student Association Gender Studio, said, ‘The marriage equality bill is a key to real equality. We demand that all legislators, who have not expressed their opinions on the bill, should take over 50% of public opinion [for] marriage equality seriously and publicize their support accordingly. Otherwise, your silence will be equal to homophobia.’
Five members of anti-gay marriage group Taiwan Family also held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, claiming to represent the 300,000 people who attended an anti-gay marriage protest in November last year.
Lesbian parents Hsia-Long and Hsiao-E said, ‘Homophobia is unconstitutional. The legislators are doing something unconstitutional. Our kids also grew up happily like other kids. We will still be proud of our children even if they were gay.
‘For those Taiwan Family people, I believe you will regret what you’re doing today if your children were gay. You will regret that you do not stand up for marriage equality like we do today.’