Following recent campaigns in Taiwan pressuring authorities to legalise same-sex unions, religious organisations have sought to fight back, claiming that same-sex marriages could have “severe consequences” for the country, leading to adultery and incest.

The Taiwan group Caring Family Alliance, which is an umbrella of religious bodies, said last week in a press conference that it would defend traditional values, and would start a counter-campaign to block parliament from legalising same-sex marriages.

This comes after more than 1,200 activists in Taiwan took part in a mock “wedding banquet” earlier this month in order to press for a civil code amendment to legalise same-sex unions.

Chang Chuan-feng, vice president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, spoke against this campaign, declaring that it empowered promiscuity and that it threatened to destroy traditional morality.

He said: “Once same-sex marriage is legalised, there will be more and more homosexual people. In the future, children will receive an education that teaches them homosexuality is fine, which will bring severe consequences.”

He also said that if legislators approved of the amendment, it would promote promiscuity and could lead to the legalisation of “adultery and incest.”

The pastor of Taiwan Lutheran Church, Chen Chih-hung, also said that if same-sex marriages became legal, it would encourage more people to become gay, which would destroy monogamy.

Soon after the religions leaders expressed their positions at the press conference, the China Post newspaper said in an editorial that while these groups were free to believe what they wanted, same-sex marriages did have “the potential to lend dignity to the lives of these individuals and reduce the public and private discrimination which they currently face.”

It also said “a person’s sexual orientation has not been definitively linked to any difference in the likelihood of that person committing a crime.”

Activists at the rally earlier this month sat around tables decorated with red cloths, where they had dinner and watched a video recording of local celebrities showing support as well as live performances from pop divas including Sandee Chan and Chang Hui-mei.

It came following an announcement from Taiwan’s Interior Ministry that the marriage status of a same-sex trans couple should remain legal, which activists said was a “benchmark ruling”.