Taiwan: Police shut down gay lifestyle website for ‘distributing obscene material’

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Police in Taiwan have shut down a website which billed itself as “Asia’s largest gay lifestyle information network.”

Taipei City Police Department said it shut down ‘Gayway’ on Tuesday for “distributing obscene material.”

After tracing the website’s IP to a 40-year-old man’s studio apartment in Taipei, the Criminal Investigation Division brought him for questioning.

The man said he set up the website 9 months ago, and had hired three employees to upload explicit images to the message boards to attract visitors.

Ostensibly however, Gayway mostly featured news, travel and culture stories, as well as nightlife information on its front page.

Police said he violated Article 235 of the Criminal Code, which bans the distribution of obscene materials.

In a statement, the department said: “The police will continue to crack down on internet pornography in order to purify the online environment.”

An online poll released earlier this month showed 68% of people in Taiwan back same-sex marriage.

It came after a coalition of over 120 gay rights groups campaigned outside the Taiwanese parliament last month, as well as a Pride march which drew tens of thousands just a few days earlier.

Preliminary plans to legalise same-sex marriage are currently being addressed in the Taiwanese Parliament.

The equal marriage bill, proposed by Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers, has been stalled by the Parliament’s judiciary committee since October last year.

Last month, six same-sex couples in Taiwan had their marriages rejected after attempting to register en masse.