A gay couple threw a wedding ceremony in Beijing a day after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all its 50 states.
Although their union is not recognized under Chinese law, and despite multiple setbacks caused by police and local venues, Ling Jueding, 34, and Gino, 27, were able to celebrate their love for one another among friends and family.
“This is a hard road,” Gino told reporters as he was getting prepared on the morning of the wedding.
The couple first met in 2013 at an event held by Ling’s company, the developer of a gay social networking app.
“At first glance I thought he [Ling] was a little bit girly, not at all like his manly photo, and we didn’t talk much at first.” Gino said. “It was only afterward when he would find work-related reasons to ask me out to coffee that we got to know each other better. But now it seems he’d been planning the whole thing all along,” he said.
In June 2013, Ling invited Gino to travel with him to Wutaishan, and the relationship began to flourish thereafter.
“Gino let me see hope for the future, and we just met at a right time,” Ling said.
Gino has saved all of the movie stubs, train tickets and other mementos from throughout their relationship, but explained that Ling is a bit less sentimental. Once, Gino bought him a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day and he threw them away.
Gino took the time to pick them out of the trash and store the petals in glass bottles.
He said he was nervous the first time he met Ling’s parents, and tried to impress them by offering to do work around the house to ‘cover his laziness’. He badly wanted Ling’s mother to trust him.
Ling’s parents had a hard time accepting that their son was gay, but seemed more understanding by the time he’d enrolled at Tsinghua University for graduate school.
The afternoon before their wedding, the couple received a message from police saying that they couldn’t hold the ceremony at the restaurant they’d booked.
After getting refused by 10 places, a private venue accepted them.
The couple said they plan on going to America to get their marriage licenses. While their unions won’t be recognized in China, the couple can claim each other as spouses when they’re in the US and “be a real family for then”.
by Maggie Wong