In a historic moment for the Chinese LGBT community, a court in Changsha has agreed to hear the case of a gay man demanding for the right to marry.
Sun Wenlin originally tried to register to marry his boyfriend back in June, to celebrate the couple’s one-year anniversary; however their marriage request was denied with a local official telling Sun that “marriage had to be between a man and a woman.”
On December 16th, Sun fought back and filed a court case against the local civil affairs bureau of Furong District, saying that he couldn’t wait any longer to start his life with his husband.
“I think from a legal point of view, we should be successful,” Sun said. “Our marriage law says there is the freedom to marry and gender equality. These words can be applied to same-sex marriage.”
Listed as a mental illness until 2001, homosexuality is not illegal in China, though, as of yet, gay couples don’t have the legal rights or privileges afforded to heterosexual couples.
Sun said that he has known that he is gay since he was 14. At first, his family didn’t agree, but gradually they came to accept him. “No matter how society discriminates against my son because he is gay, I will always stand firmly by him,” his mother told reporters.
Maya Wang, China researcher for the Humans Right Watch, has noted that this case could be a real sign of big things to come for LGBT rights in China. “In China, courts often reject politically sensitive cases, so the fact that the lawsuit is accepted signals some official willingness to address discrimination against LGBT people, which is encouraging,” she said.
If that’s true, this could be shaping up to be a banner year for China’s LGBT community with many more surprises to come. Just before the turn of the New Year, a Hong Kong-based author released a book arguing that China’s beloved first premier Zhou Enlai was probably gay.
By Emily Lam
[Image via GayStarNews]