Dazed Digital

Shanghai

Will China legalise same-sex marriage?

July 11, 2011

China sees a mass of support for same-sex marriage

  • Text by Satellite Voices

Guest feature by Nicola Davison

On the clunky, China-flag laden Government webpage - the numbers speak for themselves. The lobby for the legalisation of same-sex marriage – which has been formally noted for the first time – has 919,881 supporters (at the time of writing; supporters click on a button as many times as they want). This is hundreds of thousands more than the second most-popular lobby (62,595 supporters), which calls for more State support for rural doctors.

The formal recognition of the lobby on earlier this year was significant for China’s gay population, an estimated 30-40 million people. It was the first time the Communist Party has acknowledged the civil rights of China’s gay community, and has been eight years in the making for Li Yinhe, China’s premier sexologist and gay right’s activist. Li submitted her first lobby in 2003 and has every year since. While the lobby is far from becoming a bill, before now it was simply ignored.

Li says there are two specific steps that now need to be taken: firstly the establishment of a same-sex marriage bill. Secondly a change in wording of the existing marriage law, from ‘husband/wife’ to ‘spouse’. Whether these changes will come to fruition, time will tell. But the recognition of the lobby is a boost for China’s gay community who hopes that recognition of their civil rights will lead to greater acceptance in a society that has, so far, adopted a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

Back on the forum on the Government webpage, Tuyuci writes: "I'm a money boy. Seeing this makes me really happy. Without marriage things are really complicated, a lot of people will just play around for sex. If lots of people have this playing around mentality, no one will be able to stop it. If you have marriage, you have love. You also get more responsibility…Please give us a home. We don't want anything, we just want a home. My father and mother both accept it, why can't my country? I will support this until it passes.'"

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