Hou Shui-sheng, a politician from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, apologized Friday for comments he made Thursday, in which he said allowing gay marriage was equivalent to "pushing the nation to its doom" because gay couples are unable to produce children. The remarks enraged the gay community and led to a demonstration outside the parliament building against what activists called "stigmatization" and "discrimination" against homosexuality, Agence France-Presse reports. "The opinion I expressed yesterday was purely medical and was never meant to discriminate against homosexuals.... I'm terribly sorry to society and the homosexual community for the misunderstanding," Hou said.
Hou, a surgeon turned lawmaker, gave in to pressure from the Democratic Progressive Party, which was under fire for the second time in two weeks for antigay remarks made by another leading member. Vice President Annette Lu triggered strong condemnation after citing a quote suggesting AIDS was God's punishment for gays. The Presidential Office was prompted to issue a statement clarifying that Lu's comments had been misinterpreted, stating she meant to ask the public not to discriminate against AIDS patients. Taiwan's cabinet is drafting a human rights bill that will allow gay marriages as well as gay adoption.