Sad news today, as a Chinese court has rejected a gay couple’s attempt to secure the right to marry.
Things began when Sun Wenlin sued the civil rights bureau in Changsa for the right to marry his partner, Hu Mingliang. Sun only decided to take this path after the couple were refused by authorities to have their relationship recognised as marriage last June.
While it’s definitely disappointing that the Judge denied their request, the fact that it was even heard at all is actually a landmark in China. This was the first case of it’s kind.
Sadly, however, the court case ended extremely quickly as the Judge dismissed their case after the three hour trial hearing had ended.
When speaking to The Guardian, Sun expressed his belief that the court hadn’t taken the necessary time to review their case, and had been “too cautious”.
Sun continued, saying: “We will continue to appeal. I think it is worthwhile. It catches people’s attention and it will help our opinions spread. What we are trying to achieve is freedom and equality.”
The couples’ lawyer, Shi Fulong, believes that the court didn’t have sufficient grounds for dismissing the case and also said that same-sex marriage is destined to become law in China in the not-too-distant future.
Fulong said: “If the law is unable to provide people with equality and justice, it means the law needs to be changed.”
Naturally, Sun and and Hu’s case drew the support of LGBTQ campaigners, with hundreds gathering outside the courthouse to show their support for the couple.
A prominent gay rights activist by the name of John Shen, had this to say: “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. It is a monument on the way to victory. It is a very amazing time for us right now. One year ago we couldn’t have imagined such things in China. It is very inspiring,” said Shen, noting that China’s gay rights movement only started to take shape in the late 1990s.”
“We are 30 years [behind] the west. Last year, if you’d have asked me [when China would allow gay marriage] I would have said maybe 20 years. Today I think maybe it will come a little sooner. I think we will have more litigation like this in the future, on many other topics, and we will also encourage other communities to join this kind of litigation with us to use the Chinese law to change the Chinese law.”
We wish Sun and Hu the best of luck, so let’s all hope for a better result for them and other LGBT people in China in their appeals.