TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – As Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) wraps up his scheduled city-to-city visit in the United States, the independently-minded mayor publicly admitted in a speech to voting against the same-sex marriage in the Nov. 24 referendum.

Still, he worked on protecting the rights of 125,000 campaigners who rallied in requesting marriage equality, he said.

Participants revel through a street during a gay and lesbian parade in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on May 24, 2017, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Ko on March 22 delivered a speech at the Morris and Sophie Chang Building in Massachusetts Institute of Technology following a closed-door meeting with Harvard researchers. The speech drew about 300 students to the audience.

Supporters of LGBT and human rights holds up slogans during a rally to support a proposal to allow same-sex marriage in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Tens of thousands of supporters hold a gathering to support same-sex marriage and coincide on the World Human Rights Day. They hope the bill to allow same-sex marriage would be able to passed before the end of this year. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Referring to Taipei as the most progressive and accommodating city in East Asia, the mayor surprisingly said he personally voted to reject plans to change the country’s Civil Law to legalize gay marriages in the national referendum last year.

“I voted against your claims for changes in policies, but I also have fully respected your rights to demonstrations,” said Ko, stressing that Taipei, which is free and diverse, aims at accommodating various ideas to continue to grow.

The mayor shared his personal “discomfort” at seeing “intimate contacts” between same-sex couples in radio interviews back in 2016, but he reiterated that “it is not your nor mine business when they keep it personal.”

The China Post Staff