Taipei City raises rainbow flag in support of gay pride

A rainbow flag, which symbolizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride, flew above Taipei City Hall for the first time on Saturday when a colorful annual gay pride parade was held in the city.

The flag was raised early in the morning at Taipei City Hall Plaza, alongside Taiwan's national flag and the city's official flag.

The Taipei City Council passed a resolution in June to have the city government raise a rainbow flag on the day of the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade as a sign of respect for and recognition of diversity and differences, said Lan Shih-tsung (???), commissioner of Taipei's Department of Civil Affairs.

Speaking to reporters at an event to announce the completion of the Taipei Gymnasium, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) admitted Saturday that the city government had received complaint calls over the decision to raise the rainbow flag.

But he said his government followed through on the move as the city council passed a resolution on the issue.

When asked if the move meant that the city government supports same-sex marriage legislation, Ko said it meant that his government respects diversity.

Asked about his view on same-sex marriage, Ko, who previously described it as "strange," said Saturday, "whatever people want to do is fine. It's none of our business."

The Taiwan LGBT pride parade was held Saturday afternoon starting from Ketagalan Boulevard, with the aim of breaking barriers among all groups and boosting social acceptance of LGBT people.

The parade drew 65,000 participants in 2014 and 78,000 in 2015, making it one of the largest in Asia. Taiwan is widely considered to be one of Asia's most liberal countries on LGBT issues.

On Oct. 24, legislators of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said they plan to propose an amendment to the Civil Code that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

A same-sex marriage bill cleared a first reading in the Legislative Yuan in 2013, but failed to pass three readings by late 2015, ahead of legislative elections early this year, meaning that the bill was automatically invalidated.

The bill was vehemently opposed by some religious groups.

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (???) said on Saturday, meanwhile, that the Taichung City government will also raise a rainbow flag on Dec. 10, a week ahead of the LGBT pride parade in the central city, to show its support for gay rights.

"The rainbow is beautiful because it has many colors. Taiwan is beautiful because of its diversity and inclusiveness," Lin said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel