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China Rules Against Gay Marriage


Sun Wenlin, center left, and his partner Hu Mingliang, center right, speak to journalists after a judge ruled against them in China's first gay marriage case in Changsha in central China's Hunan province. (AP Photo/Gerry Shih)

Sun Wenlin, center left, and his partner Hu Mingliang, center right, speak to journalists after a judge ruled against them in China's first gay marriage case in Changsha in central China's Hunan province. (AP Photo/Gerry Shih)


A judge in China ruled against a gay couple last week in the country’s first case about same-sex marriage.

A court in central China dismissed the suit that the couple brought against the local government. The couple said the local government bureau would not issue them a marriage registration certificate.

The ruling was not a surprise. The couple’s lawyer said he expected the ruling. But a judgment in under four hours was a surprise.

The lawyer argued that Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang should be allowed to marry because the laws in China do not specifically ban marriage between couples of the same sex.

The laws only address marriage between a man and a woman.

Sun says “the fact that marriage between a man and a woman is legal does not suggest that marriage between two men is illegal.”

The couple will have to pay a small fee – about $7 – in court costs.

The couple says it plans to appeal.

China does not recognize same-sex marriage and government officials say they do not expect that to change.

The case received a lot of attention inside China. Hundreds of people arrived at the courthouse, hoping for a chance to witness the arguments. But only about 100 were admitted.

Sun talked with the Associated Press news agency before the hearing. He said he hoped other people will see same-sex marriage as a possibility.

“I hope I can pave the way as far and wide as possible so that people who want to do the same will see how much we have tried and what possibilities there can be.”

Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but same-sex couples do not usually live openly.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on reporting by the Associated Press and New York Times. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Do you think same-sex marriage will be legal one day in China? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

gay - adj. someone who is interested in a person of the same sex

couple - n. two people who are married or who have a sexual relationship together

suit - n. case

certificate - n. a document that is official proof of something

allowed - v. permitted

address - v. to deal with

bureau n. a government department or office that provides services to the public

homosexuality adj. sexually attracted to people of the same sex

gender n. the state of being male or female

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