Gay Chinese Man Files Landmark Bid for Marriage

By Betty Richardson, January 7, 2016

1 0

A court in Henan province has just accepted its first same-sex marriage case, filed by a gay Chinese man against a local civil bureau for the right to marry his boyfriend. 

Advocates claim that even the acceptance of this case is a leap forward for LGBT rights in China, and, if passed, could signal a "watershed moment" for the legalization of gay marriage in future. 

26-year-old Changsha-native Sun Wenlin (believed to be a pseudonym) lodged the case earlier this month after officials denied his marriage license request last June at the Furong district civil affairs bureau. He claims officials rejected his request citing that the definition of marriage in China is between a "husband and wife." 

READ MORE: Thousands of letters sent to Chinese politicians calling for legalisation of gay marriage

Sun on the other hand argues that it doesn't specify that it must be between a man and a woman, and that a freedom and gender equality clause in the law can be "interpreted to incorporate same-sex couples," since the technical definition is that "two people who have no blood ties can form a family."

Gay Rights in China

Homosexuality in China is not illegal, but until as recently as 2001 it was categorized as a 'mental disorder,' and official stances remain frosty if not openly prohibitive. However, a slight shift in attitudes has been noted since the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages, and human rights advocates believe that further acceptance could well be in the pipeline. 

Maya Wang, a China researcher at NGO Human Rights Watch claims that the court's decision to even accept the case is evidence of this shift in attitudes, “Courts often reject politically sensitive cases," she told the Independent, "so the fact that the lawsuit is accepted signals some official willingness to address discrimination against LGBT people, which is encouraging.” 

Mr. Sun remains defiantly optimistic on the outcome of the case, and has vowed a return to submit his marriage request next year should the motion be rejected. Sun's legal consultant, who wished only to be known as Ding, anticipates the court's deciding verdict within six months. Stay tuned for more updates.

READ MORE: China responds to gay marriage ruling with support and fears of human extinction

[Image via the Associated Press]

more news

Man Behind Racist Videos Charged with Human Trafficking

Lu Ke, the man who made and sold racist videos of African children, has been charged with human trafficking.

Personal Items and Human Remains from Flight MU5735 Found

As search and rescue teams continue to scour the area, vital clues as to what happened are being gathered along the way.

Know Your Rights: What Should You Get Paid Over Lockdown?

Be prepared! Here's the law surrounding how your company should pay you if you have to quarantine and are unable to work.

'Life in North Korea' Photographer On the Human Face of the DPRK

Christian Petersen-Clausen invites people to imagine what their lives might be like had they been born in the DPRK.

Meet Ayayi: China's First 'Meta-human' Virtual Influencer

China recently launched its first 'meta-human,' named Ayayi, which is essentially a hyper-realistic digitized person.

'Dragon Man' Skull Fossil May Be New Human Species

A well-preserved hominin skull from the Middle Pleistocene might belong to a new species of the Homo genus.

China Clarifies Inmate Rights in Death Penalty Cases

The new guideline states, among other things, that inmates nearing the date of their execution are only able to meet with close family members.

First Human-Monkey Chimeras Created by Scientists in China

The research was moved to China to avoid legal issues in the U.S. and Spain.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives