By Beth Main
Mayu Yu and her partner Elsie Liao were deeply offended on Monday when they went to Dongcheng District Marriage Registry to register their relationship. They were told by a male official that the law doesn’t recognise a relationship between two women, the official then scuttled off into a back room refusing to discuss gay marriage with the couple.
27 year old social worker and her 21 year old student girlfriend Elsie went to the office in Beijing in a publicity stunt, as gay rights activists across the country continue to lobby for their right to marry and adopt. Activists believe that the LGBT community’s lack of exposure is an obstacle to legislative action. This shouldn’t be a problem if Taiwanese singer and gay rights supporter A-mei does this again at her upcoming gigs in China next month.
“It’s worse than we thought as he could at least show some respect for us and explain to us what the legal obstacles are.”
“It has once again revealed how little public support there is for gay marriages and how much work we need to do in the fight for such rights.”
Hu Zhijun, a gay rights activist from Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians China, said another lesbian couple, in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, planned to go to the local marriage registry today to register their relationship in a separate campaign for gay marriage.
Same-sex marriages have been legalised in 11 countries so far (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden) while numerous other countries allow for civil partnerships between same-sex couples. By (woeful) Asian standards, China is remarkably progressive on this issue. Gay pride parades are held in several cities, including Shanghai and Changsha. Across the straits, the Taiwanese gay community is also lobbying for the right to marry.