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Lawyers petition Chinese government for gay marriage

Lawyers take on campaign for same-sex marriage in world's most populous country
'Big Treasure' and 'Little Treasure' at their wedding ceremony in January

Ten lawyers in China petitioned the communist government's National People's Congress (NPC) yesterday to legalize same-sex marriage.

'The most effective way to eliminate discrimination against homosexuality is to acknowledge same-sex couples' rights to marriage,' said Huang Yizhi, one of the lawyers behind the campaign, South China Morning Post reports.

The lawyers from Beijing, Shenzhen and other cities across the country signed a joint letter advising the government to legalize same-sex marriage to give equal rights to LGBT people.

'China, as a country that is gradually opening up, should work to respect the rights of the sexual minority,' said Peng Kun, another lawyer who signed the letter.

'It is important for us to create more noise... to give legislators and the government something to think about.'

Two months ago 100 members of PFLAG China (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) sent a similar letter to the NPC to ask the government to legalize gay marriage.

In January an elderly gay male couple became an internet sensation on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging site, when they posted photographs of their wedding.

Several couples in China have held public wedding ceremonies, but they are not legally binding, yet.  

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