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Scientists Name New Snail Species in Honor of Marriage Equality and Gay Rights

Snail

Scientists in Taiwan have named a new species of land snail in honor of the fight for same-sex marriage rights, according to a report in the journal Zookeys.

The snail species , thought to be part of a species discovered in 1884, turns out to be genetically independent, Chih-Wei Huang and his collaborators at Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University discovered:

"When we examined the phylogeny from each gene," Huang says, "it suggested that the eastern A. subchinensis was more closely related to A. vermis, a similar land snail species inhabited in Ishigaki Island, than the western A. subchinensis."

They confirmed that what was thought to be A. subchinensis from eastern Taiwan was in fact a new species, which they named as A. diversifamilia. The name means the diverse forms of human families.

"When we were preparing the manuscript," Dr. Lee explains, "it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights. It reminded us that Pulmonata land snails are hermaphrodite animals, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs in single individual. They represent the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom. We decided that maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights."


Taiwan Court Rejects Gay Couple’s Marriage Appeal

A Taiwanese court has rejected a gay couple’s appeal against a government agency for refusing to register their marriage, The Standard reports:

TaiwanGay rights activist Chi Chia-wei and his partner filed a complaint with the Taipei High Administrative Court last year against a government agency that turned them away when they tried to register their marriage. 

The court on Thursday ruled in favor of the agency, saying it did not violate the law which stipulates that "a marriage contract should be between a man and a woman''. Chi has launched multiple legal bids to seek recognition of his marriage since 1986 but all have been rejected.

"The government is outdated and makes no progress over the years. This case concerns not just me but the welfare of all homosexual people. This is unfair and I will appeal,'' Chi said. 

In a statement, Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said the following: 

"We regret and are deeply saddened by the ruling ... which shows that Taiwan stands still after 20 years while the United States and European countries are moving to support gay marriages''

Legislative proposals that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow married couples to adopt children were introduced late last year, which led to widespread anti-gay protests in the East Asian state. 


Tens Of Thousands Protest Gay Marriage In Taiwan: VIDEO

Taiwan marriage protest

Even though the president of Taiwan is on record saying that he respects gay marriage, tens of thousands of his citizens do not share his sentiment and took to the streets outside the Presidential Office on Saturday to protest same-sex marriage and proposed changes to partnership rights.

TaipeiFollowing the tactic used in many other countries, particularly the U.S. and Russia, protesters hid behind children and cited personal religious beliefs as defense for their opposition. A more unique protest comes from The Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, a group which fears that the legalization of same-sex marriage will result in "sexual liberation."

The proposal to legalize same-sex marriage and allow adoption by gay couples is only one of three that sparked Saturday's protest. The other two seek to establish a civil partnership system and a system that would recognize multiple unrelated people as a family unit.

There was also a large counterprotest.

Check out the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tens Of Thousands Protest Gay Marriage In Taiwan: VIDEO" »


Taiwan's President 'Respects' Gay Marriage, Which Is Still Illegal

Mayingjeou

On Friday in a meeting with foreign correspondants in Taipei, Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou expressed his support for gay marriage in his country.

Ying-jeou noted that when he was mayor of Taipei 15 years ago it was one of the only cities in the world that had a budget for supporting gay rights activities and is now one of the most gay-friendly cities in Asia. However, heterosexual marriage in Taiwan developed over thousands of years of history and Ying-jeou lamented that advancing gay marriage, which is still illegal in the country, is going to take "a high degree of consensus".


Thousands Turn Out for LGBT Pride March in Taipei, Taiwan: VIDEO

Taiwan

Tens of thousands marched in an LGBT Pride celebration in Taipei, Taiwan on Saturday pushing for equal rights, Reuters reports:

2_taiwanTaiwan's legislature on Friday began a review of a gay marriage bill, which has the support of 53 percent of the public, according to a recent opinion poll, though acceptance of a gay family member remains low.

"Chinese families are still very traditional," said Jennifer Lu of the counselling group Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association and one of the hosts on the centre stage. "People still emphasise having an heir and passing on the family name."

On a cool autumn day, the 11th annual parade was marked by colourful costumes, plenty of exposed skin, musical performances and vendors lining the route to and from the city hall.

Spokeswoman Meico Tsai praised the liberal attitudes that have put Taiwan far ahead of its neighbours in terms of tolerance of gays. "Compared to other Asian countries, we're more open, but we still have a long way to go," she said.

Watch videos of the march, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thousands Turn Out for LGBT Pride March in Taipei, Taiwan: VIDEO" »


Mass Gay 'Wedding Banquet' In Taiwan Pushes For Marriage Equality

Banquet

Around 30 same-sex couples in Taipei, Taiwan symbolically tied the knot down the road from the presidential palace Saturday in a symbolic mass "wedding banquet" intended to push the government to recognize same-sex marriages. 

From Focus Taiwan:

A mass wedding that attracted over 1,000 people was held in downtown Taipei on Saturday, amid a push by local civic groups to legalize all forms of civil partnerships, including same-sex marriage, in Taiwan...

The alliance also hoped that the banquet would drive up support for an amendment that would legalize gay marriage, civil partnerships, and the adoption of children by diverse families in Taiwan.

The proposed legislation is set to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan later this month.

AFP adds:

Participants sat around tables decorated with red cloths printed with the Chinese character for “wedding”, as they had dinner and watched a video recording of local celebrities showing support as well as live performances in a makeshift banquet venue in a square outside the presidential office in Taipei.

“This looks likes a traditional wedding scene and even if it’s not real, I think a picture is worth a thousand words and I hope we will get more public attention and support for same-sex marriages,” said Richard Chen, a 22-year-old student from Taipei.

According to The China Post, a poll from the United Daily News shows that 55 percent of the population are in favour of same-sex marriage, with 37 percent opposed. Though that same poll also pointed out that 61 percent of respondents would not accept their children if they were gay. 

"Taiwan is considered one of the more liberal countries in Asia in terms of homosexual issues and hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in Asia each year," according to The China Post.


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