Brian Davidson, United Kingdom’s consul-general in Shanghai, married his partner Scott Chang, an American citizen, in Beijing Sept. 6.
The wedding, held at the official residence of the UK’s ambassador to China, is reportedly the second same-sex marriage to be conducted by the British diplomatic mission in China, with the first taking place just a week earlier, according to wantchinatimes.com.
“I am very proud that the law in the United Kingdom today affords me the same rights as any other British national to be married to whomever I love. This is one very real example of how the United Kingdom practices equality for all,” Davidson wrote in Chinese on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
“For me, it means that finally, our family and friends (British, Americans and Chinese) can witness the moment we commit to love and cherish each other till death do us part. This is extremely important for both me and my partner,” he said.
Overnight, the post was shared more than 27,000 times and commented on over 16,000 times, with a photo of Davidson and Chang liked nearly 44,000 times.
Davidson, 50, has a law degree from the University of Cambridge and has been consul-general in Shanghai since Jan. 2011, having previously served as consul-general in southern China’s Guangzhou province.
British Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood also posted a photo of himself with the newly weds on his own Weibo page commenting in Chinese that he is “delighted and honored to have officiated the same-sex wedding of the UK’s consul-general in Shanghai.”
Though same-sex marriage and civil unions are not recognized under Chinese law, the wedding is legal under British law as diplomatic missions are afforded special privileges.
The ‘Consular Marriage and Marriages under Foreign Law Order 2014′ that came into force June 3 allows marriages between same sex couples to take place at British Consulates. The service coincides with legislation that legally allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales on March 29.
British missions are only able to provide a same-sex marriage service in countries where it is not possible for British nationals to have such a marriage under local law and where the local authorities have given permission for the missions to conduct consular marriages of same sex couples.
China has granted its approval even though it does not accept marriages of same-sex couples.
Same-sex couples can now marry at 23 British consulates around the world. However, the only British mission in China where same-sex marriages are not permitted is in Hong Kong, a former Crown Colony.