Same-sex marriage decades away in China

China will not legalize marriage between same-sex couples within the next decade, LGBT rights campaigners say

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LGBT individuals in China face systemic discrimination, advocates say.

LGBT individuals in China face systemic discrimination, advocates say. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Same-sex marriage will not be legalized in China for at least another 10 years, an LGBT rights advocate said on Thursday (May 30).

Beijing on Wednesday announced it will not be following in the footsteps of Taiwan and legalizing gay marriage. Hu Zhijun, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group PFLAG’s Guangzhou chapter, told Reuters the social acceptance of LGBT individuals in China is low, and the announcement therefore came as no surprise.

Doriane Lau, who works as a researcher for Amnesty International in Hong Kong, said there are no laws banning discrimination on the grounds of sexuality in China. Conversion therapy is still commonplace across the country, she added.

China removed homosexuality from its official list of mental illnesses in 2001, however some psychiatric textbooks in the country still identify it as a curable phenomenon, Lau said.

Deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson said Beijing does little to counter the social and economic discrimination LGBT people face daily in China.

On May 24, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Legislators voted in favor of a bill to enforce the Supreme Court’s 2017 ruling that prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

A provision of the law stipulates the government can only recognize a marriage between a local and foreign national if the foreign national’s country of origin also recognizes same-sex marriage. The Straits Exchange Foundation on Wednesday confirmed, however, the Ministry of the Interior is prepared to grant legal certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships between Chinese and Taiwanese individuals.

Shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized, People’s Daily, a Chinese newspaper owned by the Communist Party’s Central Committee, tweeted that “local lawmakers in Taiwan, China” had passed the monumental bill. Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) hit back, calling People’s Daily a “commie brainwasher.”