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B01A00_P_01_02.jpg (Photo : chinatimes.com)

Gay marriage has hogged the limelight in Taiwan as “tens of thousands” of protesters opposing LGBT unions took to the streets on Nov. 30.

The protest took place in response to a proposal in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan to recognize same-sex marriage and to allow gay couples to adopt children.

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The Taipei Times published an editorial questioning recent statements by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin that “Taiwan is not ready”. In the op-ed, multiple polls were cited as indicative of majority approval of gay marriage in Taiwan, including surveys by China Times and Academica Sinica.

While the protest opposing same-sex marriage was huge, the statistics reported by the Taipei Times suggest that the protesters are not representative of Taiwanese views as a whole.

The National Union of Taiwan Women’s Association conducted a poll showing that 75 percent of Taiwanese find gay relationships acceptable, and the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights found 53 percent of Taiwanese to support gay marriage. Support among younger respondents was much stronger, with polls suggesting over 60 percent in favor of same sex marriage.

Still, other polls show contrasting results. TVBS reported that 45 percent of respondents were opposed to gay marriage while only 40 percent were clearly in favor. TVBS published their survey in November.

Taiwan’s LGBT protections are some of the most progressive in Asia, and Taipei features a robust LBGT subculture. Taipei has hosted Gay Pride parades since 2003, the most recent of which drew around 60,000 people.

The cultural conversation over gay marriage mirrors the struggle for gay rights in other developed nations. Politically active youth are a bulwark of the movement in Taiwan, much like in Europe and the United States, and people opposed tend to be described as either “conservative” or “traditional”.

Only 25 percent of Taiwanese Christians support the proposed amendments.