Voters in Taiwan on Saturday approved a ballot measure defining marriage as between a man and a woman, while killing a separate referendum that could have codified same-sex couples’ rights.
The weekend election in the Asian nation delivered a series of wins for right-wingers, threatening the island country’s recent reputation as a haven for LGBTQ people on the continent.
The South China Morning Post reports five separate ballot measures appeared on the Taiwanese ballot related to LGBTQ rights. Three had been backed by the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, including one defining marriage under exclusively heterosexual terms, one reversing new laws calling for gender equity education and a third calling for watered-down rights for same-sex couple more akin to civil unions.
Those all received the required 4.9 million votes to pass.
“The public have used their ballots to tell the governing authorities what is the mainstream opinion and the result represents a victory for all people who cherish family values and how such values should be taught in schools to the young generation,” said Tseng Hsien-yin, leader of the Coalition for the Happiness, in a statement to UPI.
The marriage referendum nullifies a court ruling earlier this year that has declared a ban on same-sex couples as unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, voters on Saturday failed to pass two pro-LGBTQ referenda, one that would enshrine marriage equality in law and another seeking to establish LGBTQ guidelines in national education curricula.
The progressive Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights blamed poor organization and a disinformation campaign an the part of the opposition for the defeat at the ballot box.
“Our referendums failed not because only a few people support marriage equality, but because we had not been good enough at canvassing support in the way the Coalition for Happiness were,” progressive leader Miao Poya told the Post.
Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan acting director, in a statement called the election results a “bitter blow and a step backwards.”
“However, despite this setback, we remain confident that love and equality will ultimately prevail,” she said. “The result must not be used as an excuse to further undermine the rights of LGBTI people. The Taiwanese government needs to step up and take all necessary measures to deliver equality and dignity for all, regardless of who people love.”
The ballot measure voters happened as the Democratic Progressive Party, the ruling party in the nation, suffered electoral defeats across the nation. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as chairwoman for the party after the losses.