Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage referendum

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Beijing Ramps Up Pressure After Taiwan Pro-Independence Party Sees Heavy Losses

The size of the swing was evident in the popular vote: On Saturday, KMT candidates won 48.8 per cent of the overall vote, compared to 39.2 per cent for the DPP.

The elections are looked upon as a midterm test for President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party, who have vowed to take a tougher stance toward Beijing.

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) major defeat in local government elections on Saturday was a lesson the party has learned from democracy, and the party accepted the defeat humbly, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Saturday.

The two sides have not talked since 2016 because Tsai rejects China's precondition that each side sees itself as part of one country - a process informally known as the 1992 Consensus.

The main point of contention is whether same-sex marriage should be legalized through amendments to the Civil Code, or through introduction of new legislation.

While a referendum can not overturn a court ruling, it likely means that marriage equality will not be achieved in Taiwan through amendments to the Civil Code, but rather legislation will be passed to safeguard the rights of gay couples to enter same-sex unions.

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The conservative group also beat gay rights activists on competing referendums about whether LGBT issues should be compulsory on the school curriculum.

As Saturday's conservative referendums passed the threshold of 25 percent of eligible voters, the government must by law take steps to reflect the result.

Results from the three same-sex marriage referendums held on November 24 suggest that the Civil Code will remain unchanged, and legalization of same-sex unions is likely to take place through the passing of new legislation.

But campaigners fear the eventual legislation will be weaker.

"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.

In the run-up to the elections, Tsai and her government said China was trying to sway voters with "political bullying" and "fake news", accusations Beijing denied.

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A strong showing by Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party in this weekend's local elections presents a major challenge to independence-leaning President Tsai as she grapples with growing economic, political and military pressure from rival China.

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

Tsai has since announced her resignation from the DPP chairwoman position, saying that she is responsible for her party's poor election performance.

Taiwan's Investigation Bureau is probing Chinese influence on the elections through campaign funding of candidates.

The issue over Taiwan's sovereignty is a complicated unresolved remnant of history dating back more than a century and, to be fair, Chinese people have as much right to want unification as Taiwanese people do to want independence.

Taiwan, however, still bears the name of the pre-Communist-era government, the Republic of China, whose territorial control was confined to the island at the conclusion of the civil war in 1949, when the People's Republic of China was established in Beijing on the mainland.

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Some traditional DPP supporters had said ahead of the elections that they would punish the party as they felt tensions with China were damaging their businesses.

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