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June 28, 2017

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President reiterates support for marriage equality

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Tsai Ing-wen reiterated her support for marriage equality Saturday, as Taipei hosted Asia's second largest LGBT pride parade.

Tsai's latest facebook post included a picture of a landscape with a rainbow that her friend had taken in Hualien, "Today, there is a rainbow in Taiwan," she wrote.

Taipei City Hall also flew the rainbow flag to show solidarity with the gay rights movement, and Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung promised to fly the rainbow flag in December during gay pride events in his city.

"Love should allow people to feel free, to feel equal and to feel strong," Tsai wrote in a Facebook post.

She recalled that she had expressed support for marriage equality on Facebook during her campaign last year.

"Although my role has changed, my belief has not changed," she wrote.

She noted that the current Legislature had seen three parties launch bills related to marriage equality, showing that such an issue transcends political boundaries.

She said she believes that, in the near future, all legislators will be able to express their views on the issue freely, regardless of their beliefs and values.

Legislators and key figures from all three major parties — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Kuomintang (KMT) and the New Power Party (NPP) — also participated in the gay pride parade, joining some 82,000 people marching on the streets of Taipei in support of LGBT rights.

One of the participants, DPP Secretary General Hung Yao-fu, said his party organized a team to take part in last year's gay pride parade in Taipei, and this year, they took part again to show support for marriage equality, according to Apple Daily.

Legislator Yu Mei-nu was also among the DPP party members who participated. She said the Legislature is expected to review the marriage equality bill this term and said she hoped Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Apple Daily.

NPP Legislator Hsu Yng-ming also joined the parade. He was cited by Apple Daily as saying that his party hoped the marriage equality bill could be quickly reviewed and that same-sex marriage would be legalized by next year.

A team from the American Institute in Taiwan also took part.

Some other DPP political figures have also expressed support for gay rights. Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang, wrote on his facebook page, "True love should receive blessings."

He noted that Taoyuan City Hall was lit up with rainbow colors Friday night to show support for gay rights.

He also said that his government currently allows gay couples to "register" their relationships.

The Taichung mayor, Lin, was cited by the United Daily News as saying that his city was the first in Taiwan to offer government-run health services specifically for gay people.

Lin said that Taichung City Hall flew the rainbow flag in October of last year in support of the gay pride parade, and this year, the city hall will fly the flag again for a whole week beginning Dec. 10, ahead of the city's Dec. 17 gay pride parade.

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