Gay Man Files a Lawsuit for Same-Sex Marriage in China

A gay man in China has filed the country's first lawsuit pertaining to same-sex marriage. But unlike many cases around the globe, 26-year-old Sun Wenlin (a pseudonym) doesn’t argue that existing laws are discriminatory.

Instead, he argues the law can be read as inclusive — it’s just being practiced in a discriminatory way.

"The original text of the marriage law does not say one man and one woman, but a husband and a wife," he told the Global Times, a Chinese state-owned newspaper. "I personally believe that this term refers not only to heterosexual couples but also to same-sex couples, to gay men and lesbians. The law is not discriminatory."

The gist of his argument is that "husband" and "wife" are gender roles and not necessarily gender-specific.

So, when Sun and his boyfriend decided to get hitched last June after a year of dating, he made his way down to his local civil affairs bureau to apply for a marriage license. Their application was swiftly denied, giving Sun everything he needed to file the potentially groundbreaking lawsuit.

He filed the suit at the local Furong district court in mid-December. Initially, he said, a court official rejected his documents, but eventually accepted them when Wenlin threatened to file a complaint.

The government could have stopped there, but according to Sun, it didn't: he says the police paid him a visit.

"The officer kept emphasizing that it is important to have a child to carry on one's family name, but I can't abide by people imposing their values on me," Sun says.

The court is expected to rule on the case within six months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.

Be a Part of Our Story

Join our continuously growing community of dads, families and industry experts. We’ll provide education, anecdotes and advice for wherever you might be in your journey to fatherhood. Sign up to our newsletter:

Sign up to our newsletter