China: A gay university student has recently sent letters to 2,516 deputies of the National People’s Congress and 484 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, asking to legalize gay marriage during the coming annual sessions of the two organizations, Information Times reported.
Liang Wenhui, a senior at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, said gays and lesbians meet many difficulties in medical treatment, social welfare, employment, disposition of properties and child support, according to the report carried in chinadaily.com.cn.
Though gays and lesbians have become more visible in the public in recent years, the country lacks the proper legislation to protect their rights, he said.
Liang said he had spent the entire winter holiday to find the correct names, addresses and titles of the country’s legislators and political advisers in order to send out the letters.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and in the early 2000s, it was removed from the list of mental illnesses. However the deeply held Chinese belief that children are required to marry and bear offspring to continue the family line means it is still heavily stigmatized.
China does not have any same-sex union recognition laws, recognizing neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions.
The Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China explicitly defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. No other form of civil union is recognized. The Chinese government requires parents adopting children from China to be in heterosexual marriages.
Li Yinhe, a sexology scholar well known in the Chinese gay community, proposed Chinese Same-Sex Marriage Bill (Chinese: 中国同性婚姻提案) as an amendment to the marriage law to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008. All four proposals failed.
In addition to national recognition, there have been unsuccessful attempts made towards allowing same-sex marriage in the provinces. In early 2010, lawyer Zhu Lieyu submitted a plan to the Guangdong People’s Congress in an attempt to legalize same-sex unions in the province. However the bill was never carried to a vote.
The attitude of the Chinese government towards homosexuality is believed to be one of “No approval; no disapproval; no promotion.”