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Proposed Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Causes Grudges Between Families In Taiwan

LGBT-related businesses are thriving in Taiwan where liberal attitude has earned it a reputation as Asia's "gay capital."

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Marriage, taiwan, LGBT
Lin Chinxuan, right, holds a reflector as Austin Haung, 32, photographs Kao Shaochun, left, and John Sugden during their pre-wedding photoshoot in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 11, 2018. Chinxuan and Haung are a couple and together they run Hiwow studio photographing LGBTQ couples. VOA
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On a sunny day in a park in Taipei, photographer Austin Haung advises a same-sex couple on how to pose for a pre-wedding, marriage photo shoot. For him, Taiwan’s reputation as a beacon of liberalism in the region means a thriving business.

“Our clients are mostly same-sex couples from overseas, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Malaysia,” said 32-year-old Haung, who hopes to turn his side job into a full-time business targeting homosexual newlyweds from across the region.

“They said Taiwan is a reassuring place to do the shoot…If they do this in their own country, they worry about being identified or people raising eyebrows,” he said.

In Asia’s first such ruling, Taiwan’s constitutional court declared in May last year that same-sex couples had the right to legally get married, and set a two-year deadline for legalization.

On Saturday, Taiwan will hold a series of public votes on whether its civil law should now recognize same-sex marriage, after its election authority approved contradicting referendum petitions from both conservative and rights groups.

Transsexual, Marriage
Participants dance under a a rainbow flag as they attend the sixth Delhi Queer Pride parade, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, in New Delhi. VOA

The issue has divided Taiwan, at family dining room tables, online and on the streets, with large-scale rallies.

Haung, who is gay, plans to vote for same-sex marriage, but his mother Zeng, in her early 60s, staunchly objects. In fact, she has rallied relatives and friends to support the opposing referendum that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

“There’s no need to protect gay marriage. If so, there will be more homosexuals in society,” she said. “The younger generation has their own ideas, but I disagree regardless of what they say.”

Rights activists say the conservative referendum is “discriminatory” as it goes against a 2017 court ruling that current laws violate the right to freedom of marriage and equality.

The heated debate over whether to legalize same-sex marriage presents a challenge to President Tsai Ing-wen, who rights activists say has backed away from her promise of marriage equality in the run-up to elections in 2016.

Homosexuality, India, marriage
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

The same-sex marriage votes coincides with Taiwan’s mayoral and magisterial elections, a test of confidence for Tsai’s government grappling with domestic reforms as well as rising pressure from China, which considers the island its own.

“I hope Tsai Ing-wen could undertake the leadership responsibility. The issue has been delayed for so long due to a lack of policy direction from the ruling party,” said Jennifer Lu, coordinator of the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan.

“The government should protect the rights of marriage for all Taiwanese.”

Taiwan’s capital Taipei has a celebrated annual gay pride parade that showcases the vibrancy of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The one-week celebration in October, largest in the region, contributed more than $3.3 million to the economy, according to daily Taipei Times.

LGBT-related businesses are thriving in Taiwan where liberal attitude has earned it a reputation as Asia’s “gay capital.”

A hub for LGBT rights activists is the Gin Gin bookshop, which was raided by police in 2003 and 500 magazines seized.

pride flag, marriage
The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. wikimedia

“We have fought a long fight and now have loyal customers coming to our shop at least once a year from all over the world,” said Yang Pingjing, one of the bookshop’s owners.

Also Read: Video- India Scraps Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

Located in an alley at the heart of Taipei with rainbow flags leading up to the staircases, the owner of a decades-old
bathhouse for men said his business is now often packed and receives many customers from overseas.

“I’m not too worried about my business,” said Yu Nanxian, owner of 24-hour Hans Men’s Sauna. “Once a gay man, you will always be a gay man, no matter the result of the referendum.” (VOA)

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I’m Not Going To Change My Personality After Marriage: Ranveer Singh

He says he has not toned down

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Ranveer Singh
Ranveer Singh. Flickr

Actor Ranveer Singh will not change his personality after his marriage to Deepika Padukone, and says he doesn’t want his wife and actress to change herself either.

Deepika and Ranveer got married in Italy last month.

“Marriage is like the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel some kind of magic, some kind of power, it’s like I’m invincible. You know in those superhero movies, you know that moment when the suit comes on. I feel like marriage has done that to me,” Ranveer Singh said during a session at Times Network’s India Economic Conclave 2018.

He says getting married makes him feel “grounded, feel secure”.

“I’m really loving it. It has only been about 10-15 days now but it’s so nice, it’s so lovely. I would highly recommend it to the entire young population of the country. Take it from me, it’s great,” added the actor, who was present at the fifth edition of the conclave to talk about new age role models.

deepika Padukone
Ranveer and Deepika got married in Italy last month.

Asked whether the couple is planning to expand the family, he said: “It’s not my call really. I mean partly it is, but mostly it’s just her.”

“I allow her to make most of the decisions because she is just better at everything. I have no qualms in accepting that she is a much more evolved, a much more mature person than me. Of course I love her, but I respect and admire her for everything that she has achieved. She is a much greater person than me. She has achieved a lot more than me,” he added.

He says he has not toned down.

Also Read- Rahul Gandhi Hints Rajasthan CM Issue Sorted

“Did you see what I was wearing for my wedding? I was wearing a leopard on my shoulder for one of the events. A leopard who had green lasers coming out of his eyes! How is that toned down? It was hot pink. Manish Arora made it especially for me. He is my spirit designer, and he’s really out there.

“I don’t think I’m going to tone down or change who I am just because now I’m married which leads me into the next part of my answer that if it happens, I’m not going to filter it. I’m just going to allow it to happen if it happens naturally.” (IANS)