News analysis

Taiwanese conservative regarding marriage

Referendum results also show they prefer the status quo on issue of island's name

Same-sex marriage supporters in Kaohsiung taking part in a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parade on Sunday after losing in Taiwan's marriage equality referendum the day before. The gay rights issue has become one of the most divisive in Taiwa
Same-sex marriage supporters in Kaohsiung taking part in a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parade on Sunday after losing in Taiwan's marriage equality referendum the day before. The gay rights issue has become one of the most divisive in Taiwan, driven by influential civil groups.PHOTO: REUTERS

The defeat of a referendum on equal marriage rights for same-sex couples shows that Taiwanese society remains largely conservative, despite the significant headway the gay rights movement has made.

Taiwanese also signalled they prefer the cross-strait status quo by voting down the use of "Taiwan" as the island's name at international meets like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2018, with the headline 'Taiwanese conservative regarding marriage '. Print Edition | Subscribe