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World News

Taiwan to hold referendum on special law for same-sex marriage

A participant is wrapped in a LGBT flag as he takes part in a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride parade in Taipei, Taiwan, October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan will hold a public vote on whether the island’s civil law should recognise same-sex marriage, two election officials told Reuters on Tuesday, reviving a debate over whether a separate law should be enacted for civil unions between gay couples.

Taiwan’s constitutional court declared in May last year that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, and gave a two-year deadline for legalisation.

But an activist group submitted a petition in August to Taiwan’s Central Election Commission, proposing a vote on the issue and asking for a separate law to be enacted for same-sex unions, something it said would defend “family values”.

After a month-long review, the commission decided on Tuesday that the referendum would be held on November 24, the same day when the self-ruled island is set to hold mayoral and magisterial elections.

Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Michael Perry

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