The Taipei Times Reveals How Christian Organizations Are Working with Taoists and Buddhists to Influence Government Policy on Same-Sex Marriage [UPDATED]

“Huang Mei-yu (R) and her partner You Ya-ting attend their Buddhist wedding ceremony in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on Saturday [August 11, 2012].” Image via CNN.

The Taipei Times has published the first of a two-part series by Ho Yi today, in which the author “reveals how Christian organizations have formed anti-gay alliances with Taoist and Buddhist groups to influence government policy on same-sex marriage.” Here’s a snippet:

Twenty-seven years after the lifting of martial law [in Taiwan]…the country has become one of the most gay-friendly in Asia. The government no longer rounds up gay activists, and recent polls indicate that more than half of respondents support legal recognition of same-sex unions. Indeed, recent proposed amendments to Article 972 of the Civil Code that would make same-sex unions possible have been forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for review.

Unlike the past, the government no longer suppresses gay rights. Today, challenges to gay rights comes from elsewhere.

On Nov. 30 last year, tens of thousands of people rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, voicing their opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage. The main force behind the demonstration was the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan (台灣宗教團體愛護家庭大聯盟), a movement composed of Christian organizations, Buddhist sects, the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference (天主教會台灣地區主教團) and I-Kuan Tao (一貫道) — a religious movement that combines Confucianism, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism, and recognizes non-Chinese religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam.

It was one of the largest mobilizations of Taiwan’s religious groups in recent years. There were reportedly hundreds of security staff. Those gay advocates who showed up were subjected to abuse and driven away. In the weeks leading up to the protest, ministers preached homophobic sermons, asking their congregation to support the alliance-initiated signature drive against same-sex marriage and join the demonstration, says Chen Hsiao-en (陳小恩), secretary of the Tong-Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church (同光同志長老教會), whose members and clergy consist mainly of gay men and lesbians.

You can read all of part one here.

[UPDATE: Part two, "Unraveling the Gordian Knot", has arrived. You can read it here.]


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