CHINA TOPIX

Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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Gay Marriage: Vote Proves Successful In Ireland, Soon To Happen In China As Well?

Shih Ming-teh, the former chairman of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party

(Photo : Reuters) Shih Ming-teh, the former chairman of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, said he will allow same-sex marriage in China if he is to become president. Above, Shih Ming-teh gestures during a rally calling for Taiwan's "President" Chen Shui-bian's resignation in Taipei, October 10, 2006.

After Ireland's landslide victory vote for same-sex marriage in their referendum, it appears China would possibly follow suit as well.

Presidential candidate Shih Ming-teh announced Sunday via Facebook that if he were to become China's president, his government will allow same-sex marriage in the country, offering gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

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In 2009, China's Legislature passed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which meant the government will have the ability to publicise same-sex marriage without the need for new bills to be passed by Legislature, said Shih, who became a political prisoner 25 years prior to becoming chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party from 1994 to 1996.

Shih, 74, became popular after heading a campaign in 2006 against then President Chen Shui-bian's corruption.

When Shih announced Thursday his plans of allowing same-sex marriage in China, he also announced his intention of running for president in China's 2016 elections. He will run as an independent candidate, according to The China Post.

Last year, Shih's wife, Chen Chia-chun, who is also the executive director of the Shih Ming-teh Culture Foundation, handled negotiations between LGBT rights activists and legislators.

Most parts of Asia consider homosexuality as taboo, even illegal.

In December 2014, Taiwan's Legislature reviewed a bill to legalize gay marriage, making Taiwan the first East Asian country which has reviewed a same-sex marriage bill in the parliamentary level.

The bill was stalled however because Ministry of Justice and religious groups opposed to the Legislature's review. Since then, the issue was dropped in committee.

In Sydney, Ireland's recent referendum change in gay marriage prompted a response from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Sunday, who said they will not follow suit with the emerald country and that any future changes would be decided by Parliament, reported The AFP.

In Australia, same-sex couples can have their union registered in most states, however marriage is not allowed national law. Gay marriage was outlawed in the country downunder when a 2004 national Marriage Act was revised by the conservative prime minister.

The 2004 decision was headed by the conservative government of Abbott, which opposes same-sex marriage.

However, there might still be hope for Australia's equal rights, as Sen. David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democratic, said there appears to be an increasing support for legislative change.

Last year, a poll was conducted in Australia, which resulted in a record high of 72 percent of citizens in support of marriage equality.

On Saturday, Ireland became the world's first country to allow same-sex marriage by referendum. "Yes" votes reached an overpowering 62 percent.

As with Shih Ming, Ireland's "yes" campaign had the full support of Ireland's political leaders.

Prior to the tally, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the country could "create history," as well as finally eradicate prejudice and fears of difference, which are irrational, according to CNN.

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