China’s first gay marriage rights lawsuit accepted

Beijing, Jan 6 (IANS) China’s first lawsuit on same-sex marriage rights has been accepted by a local court in Changsha, Hunan Province, marking a milestone for LGBT rights in the country, the media reported on Wednesday.

Plaintiff Sun Wenlin (pseudonym), a gay man, told the Global Times that the court accepted his suit against a civil affairs bureau in Furong district for not accepting his marriage registration application.

Sun filed the case on December 16, 2015, after his marriage registration application was turned down by an official who said that only “one man and one woman” can be registered as married.

Sun claimed that local police also visited his home after he filed the case, which has gained a high profile and has been hailed by many LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender – activists online.

“The officer kept emphasising that it is important to have a child to carry on one’s family name, but I can’t abide by people imposing their values on me,” Sun added.

“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,” he said.

The court is expected to hand down a ruling on the case within six months.

China has legalised LGBT since 1997. Transsexuals are allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery.

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