Metro Weekly

Chinese court refuses to recognize gay marriage

Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang, Credit: AP / YouTube

Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang, Credit: AP / YouTube

“What we are trying to achieve is freedom and equality.”

–Sun Wenlin, speaking with The Guardian after a Chinese court dismissed a lawsuit by Sun and his partner Hu Mingliang. The couple brought the suit against Hunan province’s civil affairs bureau, after they failed to recognize the couple’s relationship as a marriage. “We will continue to appeal. I think it is worthwhile,” Sun added. “It catches people’s attention and it will help our opinions spread.”

Sun and Hu started their legal process last year, on their first anniversary, and in the process became the country’s first legal case regarding same-sex marriage. Homosexuality has been legal in China since 1997, but the country’s authoritarian government refuses to recognize same-sex relationships. A court in the city of Changsha agreed in January to hear the case, but this week the presiding judge dismissed it after the three hour trial had closed.

“If the law is unable to provide people with equality and justice, it means the law needs to be changed,” Shi Fulong, a lawyer representing the couple, told The Guardian.

Outside the court, LGBT activists gathered in a show of support for Sun and Hu. After their case was dismissed, members of the crowd remained positive.

“Even though the case was rejected by the court I still think it is a big step since it has already raised huge attention and discussion, which was the case’s original goal,” said John Shen, programme manager at the Beijing LGBT Centre. “It is a monument on the way to victory.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at