Voters in Taiwan backed anti-gay marriage referendums Saturday in what LGBT activists said was a major blow to the island’s reputation as a rights trailblazer.
Taiwan’s top court legalized same-sex marriage in May 2017, the first place in Asia to do so, and ruled that it must be brought in within two years, but the government has made little progress in the face of opposition from conservative groups.
A referendum on whether marriage should only be recognized as between a man and a woman in Taiwan’s Civil Code won more than seven million votes, while another calling for same-sex unions to be regulated under a separate law gained over six million.
Gay rights activists had proposed that the Civil Code should give same-sex couples equal marriage rights, but only garnered three million votes.
“Pro-family” group the Coalition for the Happiness of our Next Generation said the win was a “victory of all people who treasure family values”.
The conservative group also beat gay rights activists on competing referendums about whether LGBT issues should be compulsory on the school curriculum.
“Everyone used every single ‘yes’ vote to tell the authorities what are the mainstream public opinions,” the coalition said.
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