Chinese court rejects first same-sex marriage case

A judge in China has dismissed a suit brought against the local government by a gay couple. Despite the decision, the plaintiffs and their supporters have said the fight isn’t over.

The court in central Changsha on Wednesday dismissed the suit brought against the civil affairs bureau for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple.

The couple’s lawyer, Shi Fulong, said he wasn’t surprised by the decision but was taken aback by how quickly it was made.

One of the plaintiffs, 26-year-old Sun Wenlin, said he would appeal the decision.

“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 can there be,” he told The Associated Press.

A milestone?

Hundreds of pro-LGBT rights supporters crowded in front of the court house on Wednesday. While some were allowed inside, many were turned away by officials due to lack of space.

While gay marriage is not technically illegal in China, it is generally frowned upon. However, there has been a growing awareness of the issue over the past decade. Some observers have called the case a significant milestone in the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community in China.

In 2012, a gay couple in the southeastern province of Fujian caused a stir when they were publically married and posted photos on social media (pictured above). Though not legally recognized, their marriage was generally applauded by the online community.

Also this week, another court in China is hearing the country’s first transgender discrimination case of a 28-year-old transgender man claimed he was fired because of his appearance.