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Thousands Gather For Taiwan's Gay Pride Ahead Of Landmark Referendum

An estimated 130,000 people took part in Saturday's parade, pledging support for same-sex marriage ahead of a Nov. 24 referendum.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Tens of thousands of people gathered in Taiwan’s capital on Saturday for the city’s annual gay pride parade ahead of referendums next month that will determine whether same-sex marriages will be recognized on the island.

In a first for Asia, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in May 2017, punctuating a yearslong campaign by advocates for gay rights in one of the continent’s most liberal democracies. Authorities were given two years to either enact or amend relevant laws, failing which same-sex couples could have their marriages recognized by submitting a written document.

But little progress has been made toward implementing the court’s ruling. Meanwhile, gay rights and anti-gay rights campaigners have organized referendums that will take place alongside Nov. 24 local elections.

Organizers estimated that 130,000 people took part in Saturday’s parade in Taipei, the biggest annual gay pride march in Asia.

Wang Zi, a 35-year-old from Beijing, said he supports Taiwan for being a pioneer in gender equality and same-sex marriage in Asia.

“There should not be boundaries when it comes to love and sex,” Wang said. “I am supporting this. Although I cannot take part in this (referendum), I will support Taiwan with all my might. Go Taiwan! Go marriage equality!”

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