Today, in the lead up to November 24 referendums in Taiwan in which marriage equality and inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula are on the ballot, 27 Taiwanese and multinational companies operating in Taiwan released a statement in support of LGBTQ equality. The major businesses are joined by six non-governmental organizations operating in Taiwan and globally.

Noting that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination significantly harms LGBTQ people and imposes enormous productivity costs, the statement calls for full equality under the law, including marriage equality and the continued inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula. The full text of the statement is included below.

In total, there are five ballot initiatives on November 24 that will impact LGBTQ people in Taiwan. Three initiatives would harm LGBTQ people, including two attempting to undermine a landmark Taiwanese Constitutional Court decision supporting marriage equality and another that would repeal a portion of the Gender Equity Education Act — which supports LGBTQ inclusion in Taiwan’s school curriculum. In contrast, two other initiatives would affirm marriage equality and the importance of the Gender Equity Education Act.

Last year, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court made international headlines by issuing a first-of-its-kind ruling in Asia affirming marriage equality. The court’s ruling mandated that the Legislative Yuan update Taiwan’s marriage law by May 2019 to allow same-sex couples to marry. While LGBTQ advocates in Taiwan have made important progress in recent years, including majority support for marriage equality and support by the current president of Taiwan, these gains could be threatened by the anti-LGBTQ ballot initiatives.

The companies signing the statement in support of LGBTQ equality represent thousands of employees in Taiwan and are drawn from a broad range of industries, including financial services, consumer products, professional services, and technology. Six LGBTQ organizations, led by the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, organized the effort to secure corporate signatories.

“We’re thankful these Taiwanese and multinational companies are speaking in one united voice in support of LGBTQ equality. These companies know that achieving marriage equality in Taiwan is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business. We believe that respecting diversity and inclusion can bring harmony and strength to society.” — Jennifer Lu, Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association

“These major businesses are speaking out in one united voice to make clear they stand with the Taiwanese LGBTQ community in their fight for equality,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, Human Rights Campaign. “This is a pivotal moment for equality in the region, as Taiwan is set to become the first in Asia to recognize marriage equality. In order to keep the momentum moving forward, now more than ever, it’s important that fair-minded voices speak out and voice their support for LGBTQ equality.”

“We applaud these leading Taiwanese and multinational corporations for publicly standing with their LGBTQ employees and the entire community in Taiwan,” said Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.  “These companies know that creating an environment where their LGBTQ employees feel welcome and respected – both within their companies and in society more broadly – is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business and good for Taiwan.”

Via Press Release