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Taiwan voters set to block same-sex marriage in referendum

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Taiwan voters were set to back a referendum that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, dealing a blow to the self-ruled island’s reputation for liberalism in Asia amid a heated debate over marriage equality.

In Asia’s first such ruling, Taiwan’s constitutional court declared in May 2017 that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a two-year deadline for legalization.

But the island’s election authority earlier this year approved contradicting referendum petitions from both conservative and rights groups.

While the election authority had not yet announced the final results of Saturday’s referendum, more than six million voters approved a series of initiatives opposing marriage equality, passing a threshold needed for a public vote.

The vote presents a major defeat for rights activists who had campaigned for equal marriage.

“This is a victory for all the people who support family value and the education for the next generation,” the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, a group opposed to same-sex marriage, said in a statement.

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“The referendum is illegal and against the constitution, and has sharply divided and harmed the society,” the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan said in a statement.

“The result showed that most people were misled by false information from anti-gay groups,” it said.

The government has said the ruling of May 2017 will not be challenged by referendum results. But the authorities are expected to enact a special law for same-sex unions after Saturday’s vote.

The vote presents a challenge to President Tsai Ing-wen, who activists say has backed away from a promise of marriage equality which she made in the run-up to elections in 2016.

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The issue has divided Taiwan, at family dining room tables, online and on the streets, with large campaigns and rallies on both sides of the debate.

Taiwan hosts the region’s largest annual gay pride parade showcasing its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Reporting by Yimou Lee and Jess Macy Yu; editing by Jason Neely

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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‘We’ve seen enough’: Orlando Sentinel endorses ‘not Donald Trump’ just hours before Orlando campaign kickoff

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A major newspaper in Orlando has endorsed anyone but President Donald Trump just hours before his 2020 campaign kickoff in Orlando.

In a column on Tuesday, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board endorsed "not Donald Trump."

"Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent," the Sentinel said. "Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump."

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‘Disillusioned’ Trump megadonors have completely bailed on his 2020 campaign: report

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The billionaire Mercer family was one of President Donald Trump's biggest financial benefactors in 2016 -- but they appear to have completely withdrawn from political spending for the president's reelection bid.

Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reports that hedge-fund tycoon Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer are "disillusioned" and have all but disappeared from the political scene as the president is gearing up his 2020 campaign.

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‘Expect the worst’ as Trump doubles down on racist rhetoric to rile up his base: columnist

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In a column for the Daily Beast, commentator and Sirius radio host Dean Obeidallah claims that all signs point to Donald Trump doubling down on racist rhetoric in an effort to rally his base as his internal polling shows him losing the key states that propelled him to the White House.

As Trump officially launches his re-election bid in Orlando on Tuesday night, Obeidallah notes Trump is falling back on what helped him appeal to disgruntled white workers in the Midwest and that he will likely ramp up attacks on undocumented immigrants -- including official actions.

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