April 20, 2018

Chinese couple lose fight for gay marriage recognition

The couple said they would appeal the decision

A judge in China has ruled a gay couple cannot register as married, in the countryt’s first case of its kind.

Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang filed a lawsuit against Changsha city authorities after their application to register a union was rejected.

In January a district court agreed to hear the case, a first in China.

China does not legally recognise same-sex marriage, but there is growing awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

On Wednesday, there were cheers for Mr Sun, 27, and Mr Hu, 37, when they entered the court, from hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside. Authorities allowed about 100 of them inside.

The court dismissed the case a few hours after the hearing started.

Supporters line up to attend a court session where a gay couple is expected to argue in China's first gay marriage case in Changsha in central China's Hunan province on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.About 300 people came to the courthouse to show their support for the couple
The couple, in the back of a taxi
Mr Sun said police had visited him to try to persuade him to drop the case

The couple’s lawyer, Shi Funong, said he had expected the judgement to go against them, but not so quickly.

“It goes against the spirit of the laws of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

Mr Sun said he would appeal against Wednesday’s court decision.

The two men had tried to register their union in June last year and filed the lawsuit in December.

Mr Sun said police had visited him after he filed the case to try to persuade him to drop it, but he refused.

“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,” he said in an interview with state media in January.

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