Gay unions will remain banned in China
August 20, 2003
BEIJING - China is lifting its demand that couples obtain approval from their employers before being married, but will continue to ban same-sex unions, state media reported Wednesday.
Civil Affairs Ministry official Zhang Mingliang said China's 2001 marriage law forbids gay marriages and officials won't process paperwork for any such unions, the official Xinhua News Agency and
"According to relevant rules, couples of the same sex are forbidden to marry each other," Zhang was quoted saying in The Beijing Times newspaper.
Canada recently allowed gay marriages, sparking some discussion in China. The Beijing Times said Zhang, head of the ministry's Community Development Department, made his comments Tuesday in response to "a controversy in society over the issue of whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry."
Gays were strongly persecuted after the founding of communist China in 1949 and Chinese psychiatrists, until recently, listed homosexuality as a mental illness. Even today, few Chinese gays publicly acknowledge their homosexuality and anti-gay discrimination is still strong.
The new marriage registration rules, to take effect Oct. 1, eliminate the demand that couples first obtain certificates of approval from their employers, before they wed. The requirement harkened to the days when a person's state work unit controlled many aspects of life including housing, health care and children's
Those regulations have been loosened considerably because of mass closures of moribund state industries, the rise of the private economy, and increasing mobility among Chinese.
Xinhua quoted Zhang saying the old rule "violated to some extent principled policy of the freedom of marriage." -Sapa-AP