First Chinese same-sex marriage lawsuit gets hearing next week

The first lawsuit to challenge China’s ban on same-sex marriage will go to court next week.

Filed by a gay man in Changsha, the lawsuit names a civil affairs bureau in the capital of the Hunan Province, for refusing to receive his marriage registration application.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first to challenge the lack of equal marriage in China.

The man, who used the pseudonym Sun Wenlin, 26, applied for the marriage licence on 23 June at the civil affairs bureau in the Furong district.

The couple had been together for one year.

However, the man says that officials at the bureau stated that “only one man and one woman” can register to marry, and refused to accept the registration.

“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 the Global Times.

Wenlin, who filed the lawsuit last month, announced earlier this month the lawsuit had been accepted by Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.

It will go to hearing on 28 January.

“I think from a legal point of view, we should be successful,” Sun told Reuters in early January.

“Our marriage law says there is the freedom to marry and gender equality. These words can be applied to same-sex marriage.”
A lesbian couple threw a wedding ceremony in Beijing a day after the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage, despite police warnings.

Although not recognised under Chinese law, Ling Jueding, 34, and Gino, 27, decided they wanted to celebrate their love for each other by hosting the ceremony in front of friends and family – despite severe police warnings and a lack of support from the local community.