Taiwan gay groups hold landmark rally for rights
October 31, 2003
TAIPEI — Taiwan's gay activists are to march in the capital city to fight
descrimination and promote gay rights as the government mulls
legislation to legalise gay marriage, officials said Thursday.
"At least 500 people from some 22 homosexual groups have
registered to participate in the first march of its kind in Taiwan"
on Saturday, Cheng Chih-wei, a member of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline
Association, told AFP.
Some may wear masks while others clad in different dresses
highlighting their different aims, he said.
The purpose of the march, called "Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights
Movement," is to "declare to Taiwan the existance of gays and
lesbians here," he said.
Cheng said they also seek a law against discrimination of
homosexuals and for the protection of what he said were basic human
rights, including gay marriage and the right of homosexual couples
to adopt children.
The march would be the fourth homosexual activity to be
sponsored by Taipei City Government's Bureau of Civil Affairs in as
many years in a row.
The bureau said it hopes the march would help erode traditional
hostility towards homosexuality in Taiwan
"Through the march, we want to present the 'sunshine' side of
homosexual to society...to let them be better understood by the
general populace," said Li Ching-ling, an official of the bureau.
The bureau had sponsored sports and Karaoke singing contests,
drawing at least 3,000 homosexuals and non-homosexuals each year.
The march comes as Taiwan's cabinet is drafting a controversial
bill to legitimise gay marriages and abolish death penalty, an
official said Monday.
If the laws are approved by parliament, Taiwan would be the
first in Asia to legalise marriages among people of the same sex.
The final draft of the bill is expected to be ready for
parliamentary review in December, the official said.
But Cheng said he doubted the government's sincerity in pushing
for the legislation of the law.
"They talked and talked about the bill for many years. I doubt
they have the sincerity in pressing for the bill," he said. –Sapa-DPA
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