Two women kiss in front of protesters campaigning against marriage equality in Marseille, France.
Prominent Chinese sociologist and campaigner Li Yinhe announced this week that her proposal to legalise same-sex marriage had been submitted to the National People’s Congress, currently taking place in Beijing.
Li Yinhe, 61, is known as an advocate of women’s rights and has long called for greater tolerance of nonconventional sexual activities in China. On multiple occassions since 2003, she has entrusted parliament members to submit her proposal on gay marriage on her behalf.
“A [National People’s Congress] member has brought the proposal to the parliament meeting, but only as a ‘suggestion’,” Li said on Sunday on microblogging website Sina Weibo.
A suggestion can become a legislative proposal only after it is signed by at least 30 members, she explained.
“Homosexual people are Chinese citizens and there are homosexuals who want to get married. Their request should be addressed as it does not run against their civil rights as citizens,” reads Li’s proposal.
Li’s proposal is the latest in a series of calls for marriage equality in China. This month a lesbian couple attempted to formalise their relationship at Dongcheng District Marriage Registry, but were turned away. Photos of the couple were spread online, with many expressing support for their right to marry.
Shortly before this year’s congressional session opened, a group of over 100 parents of gay and lesbian people signed an open letter to the NPC calling for marriage equality.
“The fact that they can’t legally marry puts them in a difficult situation when they try to adopt children, sign for their partners’ operations, inherit assets from a deceased partner, or even buy a flat,” reads the letter.
The parents then criticised the current laws.
“Is our law trying encourage homosexuals to marry heterosexuals?” they said, “Won’t this produce bigger social problems?”