93 percent say marriage equality law has had no impact on them

TAIPEI (CNA) — As Taiwan approaches the one-year anniversary of its legalization of same-sex marriage on May 24, nearly 93 percent of Taiwanese say the policy has had no impact on them, according to the results of a survey released Friday.

At a press conference, Equal Love Taiwan — a coalition of five LGBT rights organizations — announced the results of an April 29-May 2 survey it conducted on the Taiwan public’s attitudes toward a range of issues affecting the LGBT community.

The survey found that 92.8 percent of the respondents had not been impacted by the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 3.7 percent cited a negative impact, 1.8 percent cited a positive impact and 1.7 percent had no opinion on the matter.

In terms of the policy’s impact on Taiwanese society, 50.1 percent said there had been no effect, while 28.4 percent said the effect was negative, 11.9 percent said it was positive and 9.6 percent expressed no opinion.

The survey also revealed relatively mixed opinions on issues relating to children.

The respondents said they favored allowing same-sex couples to adopt children by a 56.8 percent-38.4 percent margin, but opposed allowing them to have children using artificial reproduction technologies by a margin of 50.1 percent-42.1 percent.

On the issue of social acceptance, more than 65 percent of those surveyed said they could accept learning that a family member, classmate or co-worker identified as homosexual.

However, a slightly lower 49.2 percent said they could accept learning that their own child was gay, while 47.3 percent said it would be “difficult to accept.”

In a question regarding public displays of affection, 74.1 percent of the respondents said they could accept seeing opposite-sex couples kiss in public, compared to only 48.2 percent for same-sex couples.

The survey also found that 53 percent of the respondents would accept their child learning about LGBT-related topics at school, although a 2018 referendum on including LGBT education in Taiwan’s elementary and junior high school curriculums was defeated by a 66 percent-34 percent margin.

The survey results come nearly one year after Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage on May 24, 2019.

While LGBT rights advocates welcomed the law’s passage, they have also criticized it for failing to provide equal adoption rights and for not recognizing marriages to foreigners whose countries do not allow same-sex marriage.

Opponents of same-sex marriage, meanwhile, have said that the policy lacks popular support, citing the results of a November 2018 referendum in which voters chose to uphold the concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman and to oppose the inclusion of LGBT education in Taiwanese schools.

The Equal Love Taiwan survey was conducted via telephone from April 29-May 2 with 1,086 valid responses from people aged 18 and older. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.