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Support for same-sex marriage skyrockets to over 50%: survey

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Fifty-three percent of Taiwanese people surveyed favor the legalization of same-sex marriage — twice as many as a decade ago, according to the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) yesterday.

The poll commissioned by the group found that 37 percent of people oppose the proposition.

The TAPCPR said that 10 years ago, when people were asked the same question, only 25 percent said they supported allowing same-sex marriages while 55 percent people were against it. Twenty percent had no opinion or were undecided.

Next month the alliance will propose a Civil Code amendment that aims to better protect everyone's right to form a family, TAPCPR Secretary-General Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔) said.

“Based on the result of this survey, the government should stop acting conservative and mistaking the opinions against same-sex marriage as representing most people,” Chien said.

Lee Jui-chung, an assistant researcher of Academic Sinica's Institute of Sociology, said that the survey shows there has been a dramatic change in people's attitudes.

“The attitude change is related to international trends regarding same-sex marriages,” said Lee.

“Since 2001 over a dozen countries, including the United Kingdoms, have passed bills to legalize marriage between same-sex couples, and the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled this June in favor of gay rights by recognizing that married gay couples are eligible for federal benefits.”

Lee said that about 25 percent of people in Taiwan have changed their attitudes from opposing to favoring legalizing same-sex marriage.

“This 25 percent of people who have changed their attitudes are mostly people who are younger, have higher levels of education or have no religious beliefs,” said Lee.

According to the survey, about 78 percent of people aged 20 to 29 support legalization, while over 70 percent of those with at least a bachelor's degree support gay couples' right to marry.

About 55 percent of those with no strong religious beliefs expressed support, while 25 percent of those who identified themselves as Christian backed legalization.

The survey also found that people who had changed their attitude toward same-sex marriage did so because they came to believe that everyone should have the right to choose their partners.

According to the TAPCPR, the results reflect those of four other surveys conducted by three media outlets and Academic Sinica's Institute of Sociology between 2012 and 2013 on the same topic. Those surveys also found that over 50 percent of people support legalizing same-sex marriage.

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