Taiwan rejects same-sex marriage in advisory votes

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Of the five referendums on Saturday that touched on gay issues, three reached the required threshold of more than 4.94 million "yes" votes, a quarter of eligible voters, needed to pass. 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.

It was unclear how Saturday's voting would affect the legislation, the BBC said.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday after it suffered major defeats in key mid-term polls, a significant blow to her prospects for re-election in 2020.

Her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to lose more than half of the 13 cities and counties it won in 2014, Taiwanese media report.

China has sought to isolate Tsai over her refusal to endorse its "one China" principle that designates Taiwan as a part of China.

Beijing has intensified pressure on Taiwan under Tsai, upping military drills, poaching diplomatic allies and successfully convincing worldwide businesses to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites. Proponents and opponents of same-sex marriages carried out great campaigns to win the voter's favor.

Several votes were proposed, each by different groups: one (Case 10) that marriage should stay defined in the civil code as being between a man and a woman (which received 7.6 million votes), one (Case 12) saying same-sex unions should be protected under a different law (6 million) and another (Case 14) asking if same-sex couples should have equal marriage rights (3 million).

Meanwhile, the single referendum that was put on the ballot by local gay rights activists failed.

The government earlier said Saturday's referendums would not affect it bringing in the changes required by the court ruling.

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Pro-gay marriage campaigners say they fear the new laws will now be weakened as the government faces conservative opposition. "Gay people can have relationships like heterosexual couples, but they don t have to get married", said a female voter who gave her name as Bai. "Rather, the outcome marked voters' dissatisfaction with President Tsai Ing-wen's governance".

Ahead of the vote, Tsai and DPP officials repeatedly accused China of meddling in the lead-up to the elections by operating a "fake news" campaign.

"Our efforts weren't enough and we let down all our supporters", the president said.

The KMT, which oversaw an unprecedented thaw with Beijing before Tsai took office in 2016, declared victory in 15 of 22 city and county seats, up from just six going into the election.

Almost 21,000 candidates were vying for 11,000 elected positions, from mayors to city councillors and township chiefs.

Tsai has described the local elections as a way to "tell the world" that Taiwan will not bow to Beijing, which has increased military and diplomatic pressure since she took office in 2016.

One lesson that perhaps the KMT has learned and the DPP should learn is that if they push Taiwan toward a path that would lead to merging with China or potential conflict with the mainland, they risk losing elections.

Han Kuo-yu, the Kuomintang's mayor-elect in the southern port city of Kaohsiung and the most high profile of the party's winners, said he would open the door to contacts with China.

Tsai must mind members of her party who advocate formal independence from China - more than today's widely supported de facto autonomy and a red line for Beijing.

Snowstorm batters parts of Midwest, hundreds of flights cancelled
American Airlines issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, warning that more delays and cancellations were likely this evening. Whiteout conditions brought low visibility to the small town of Chariton, Iowa, which is an hour south of Des Moines.

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