China: First Same-Sex Marriage Rights Case Filed

China: First Same-Sex Marriage Rights Case Filed

China: First Same-Sex Marriage Rights Case Filed

A gay man in China has filed a lawsuit against officials for rejecting his marriage registration application, marking the country’s first case defending the marriage rights of same-sex couples.

Sun Wenlin (pseudonym) first applied for a marriage certificate for himself and his boyfriend on June 23 at the Civil Affairs Bureau in the Hunan province’s Changsha after the couple had been dating for one year. But his application was turned down by an official who said that only “one man and one woman” can be registered as married, according to Sun.

“The original text of the marriage law does not say one man and one woman, but a husband and a wife. I personally believe that this term refers not only to heterosexual couples but also to same-sex couples, to gay men and lesbians. The law is not discriminatory,” Sun told state-run Global Times.

Sun filed the case in Furong district court last week and the court should decide whether or not to accept the case within seven days. He said a court official initially refused to accept his case documents, saying only a man and a woman can be married based on the marriage law.

The official “reluctantly” accepted the case after Sun threatened to file a complaint and he did not give Sun a written confirmation to prove that the case had been filed.

According to Sun’s lawyer Shi Fulong, official’s actions go against the new system of regulations to ease filing procedure launched by the Supreme People’s Court on May 1, requiring courts to accept cases immediately as long as they meet certain basic requirements.

In March, father of a Chinese gay wrote to 1,000 legislators asking them to initiate moves to bring a law legalising homosexual marriage. In his letter, 61-year-old Lin Xianzhi hoped that his proposals could help secure equal rights for homosexual couples including medical care, inheritance and property purchases, the report said.