Judge Rules Against Couple in China’s First Gay Marriage Lawsuit
Apr 14, 2016 12:48 AM EDT
In Beijing, China, a judge has given his verdict to go against the country's first ever same-sex marriage lawsuit. The gay couple sought the right to marry in their district but was not given the approval to do so.
According to Wall Street Journal, the case filed by Sun Wenlin is the first step forward in battling for gay and lesbian rights in China. Sun Wenlin sought the lawsuit after local authorities in the southern city of Changsa declined him and his partner to register for marriage. In his complaint, Sun Wenlin, with his boyfriend, Hu Mingliang, said that China's law only defines marriage as between a husband and wife, not specifically stating that they should be man and woman.
On Wednesday, the trial went on with hundreds of people in attendance, a rare occurrence in the city's court. However, just after 15 minutes of hearing the arguments of each side, the court delivered its verdict against the plaintiffs.
New York Times wrote that after the verdict, Mr. Sun argued that he has to be allowed to proceed in marriage since the law did not specifically ban same-sex marriage. He said "We said this at the hearing, but they just kept repeating articles that mention 'a man and a woman." The bureau reportedly cited three articles from China's marriage law and two from the official marriage registration regulation, with one stating that a civil affairs bureau may refuse applications if it believes that the couple is not qualified to marry.
Metro UK said that the decision is a major blow to the LGBT community in China where society and the government have generally frowned on non-traditional expressions of gender and sexuality. China does not yet legally recognize gay marriage and officials of the central government also do not see that there are going to be changes in the law soon.
China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and stopped listing it as a mental disorder in 2001. Though, homosexuality is not against the law in China, the country's LGBT community is still in its infancy and living openlyas same sex couples are rare.