Taiwan voters set to block same-sex marriage in referendum

Taiwan’s president quits party leadership

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Beijing said on Sunday it would welcome more cooperation between Taiwan's cities and prefectures and the mainland after the island's independence-leaning ruling party suffered a local election reverse.

The Beijing-friendly main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) made gains in the face of China's increasing pressure on the island.

Referendum #12 - which asked: "Do you agree that the right to persons of the same sex to create a permanent union should be guaranteed by an institution other than marriage as defined by the Civil Code?" - garnered 6,401,748 votes in favor of it and 4,072,471 against. She announced her resignation as head of the DPP but remains president.

Tsai told reporters that she would take "complete responsibility" for the defeat as chair of the party.

"I resign as DPP chairperson". Her efforts to cut retired public servants' pensions angered KMT voters, who make up a large portion of Taiwan's civil service, while DPP supporters said she didn't do enough to pursue promised reforms or support progressive referendum proposals. "Caution in cross-Strait policy has delivered nothing - China won't work with her and has really stepped up its pressure across the board, so its hard to see what Tsai loses by pursuing the more robust path the pro-Taiwan base demands".

While they believe their island is an independent country and would like it to be treated as such, most people don't believe formal independence is achievable any time soon and prefer not to have damaging relations with Beijing.

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The DPP lost seven of the 13 cities and counties it now holds - the special municipalities of Taichung and Kaohsiung, Chiayi City, and Yilan, Yunlin, Changhua and Penghu counties - to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

Further controversy erupted on Saturday after Kuomintang's mayoral candidate in the capital of Taipei refused to accept defeat after disputing the results.

Tensions have also increased between China and Taiwan in recent months, after China conducted numerous military drills in the Taiwan Strait and has successively stolen a number of Taiwan's dwindling diplomatic allies, including El Salvador.

Tsai and the DPP have faced a mounting backlash over domestic reforms as well as concerns about deteriorating ties with China, which still sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified.

The government said earlier said that the referendums would not stop it from bringing in the changes.

What do you think of Taiwan's rejection of gay marriage in today's referendum?

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Voters interviewed ahead of the vote said they were looking for local leaders who could build major new infrastructure, stimulate the economy or help particular groups such as youth.

On May 24, 2017, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled that the Civil Code's current definition of marriage - between a man and a woman - was unconstitutional. In 2016, Tsai had trounced her KMT challenger by 25 percentage points.

"There's nothing wrong with loving someone of the same sex", she told AFP.

"The goal of getting married is to have children and Taiwan's birthrate is already one of the world's lowest".

One possible outcome could be that gay couples are given legal protection - but not allowed to get married, correspondents say.

Analysts believe this was partially due to fear that athletes would be barred from participating in global sporting events, if the name change were to happen.

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