China: Gay rights activists in Macau demand domestic violence bill includes gay couples

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Gay rights activists in Macau have delivered a letter to the government headquarters, demanding same-sex couples to be re-introduced into the domestic violence bill.

Rainbow of Macau – the city’s first gay rights group – was founded after gay couples were dropped from the legislation in November 2012.

In the letter addressed to Justice Secretary Florinda Chan, the group said: “Rainbow of Macau reaffirms our stance on domestic violence that any act of violence in domestic settings – however ‘trivial’ or ‘accidental’ – should fall into the scope of public crimes.

“It has come to our attention that the Domestic Violence Bill is close to completion and will be submitted to the Executive Council shortly.

“Rainbow of Macau urges for the restoration of ‘same-sex couples/co-habitants’ in the domestic violence legislation.

“In the concluding observations made by the UN based on its initial review on the ratification of ICESCR in Macau, the Macau government is asked to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation covering LGBT people.

“The Rainbow of Macau is looking closely to the development and will submit an urgent appeal to the UN if the Macau government fails to adopt the recommendation made by the UN.”

The letter concludes: “Rainbow of Macau appeals to Secretary Chan to act constructively and firmly for the LGBT community while her term lasts in matter of weeks by directing the DSAJ to amend the domestic violence bill in conformity with international standards of human rights required by the UN.”

The Chinese media is often accused of censoring positive depictions of gay culture and relationships. Earlier this year, gay sex scenes were censored from the film Cloud Atlas ahead of its release in the country.

In 2012, dictionary writers in China were criticised after leaving a word used by the Chinese gay community to refer to each other out of its latest edition.

In a landmark move in July, campaigners in China took a clinic to court over its backing of gay-to-straight conversion therapy.