Chinese court rejects couple’s landmark same-sex marriage case

A gay couple have been denied the right to get married following a landmark court challenge in China. Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang lost their case in the southern Chinese city of Changsha against a civil affairs bureau which refused to let them wed. The hearing was billed as a breakthrough for the gay rights movement in the country but was wrapped up in a few hours. "Of course, I’m not very pleased about it but I’m not going to give up,“ said Mr Sun. "I plan to appeal.”

This is a moment because of all the news coverage, and people are gaining exposure

Ying Xin, director of the Beijing LGBT Centre

Mr Sun, 27, tried to register to marry his boyfriend at the Furong district civil affairs bureau in June but was rejected by an official who told him “marriage had to be between a man and woman”. He said he filed the lawsuit because he wanted to form a family unit with his 37-year-old partner. China is becoming more tolerant of homosexuality, which until 2001 was listed as a mental disorder, but many gay people remain under heavy pressure to stay in the closet.

It goes against the spirit of the laws of the People’s Republic of China

The couple’s lawyer Shi Funong