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Sociologist submits gay marriage proposal to Chinese government again

Academic tells China's National People's Congress that same-sex marriage would be good for the country
Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and vocal LGBT rights advocate Li Yinhe, speaking at an international conference on LGBT human rights in Montreal in 2006

Respected sociologist Li Yinhe has submitted a proposal to China's government suggesting legalizing gay marriage, as she has regularly since 2003.

Li said on Sina Weibo (China's Twitter) that a member of the National People's Congress (NPC) has taken her proposal to the NPC annual meeting that started this week in Beijing.

'Homosexual people are Chinese citizens and there are homosexuals who want to get married. Their request should be addressed as it does not run against their civil rights as citizens,' reads Li’s proposal, South China Morning Post reports.

Li is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This year is the fifth time she has lobbied the NPC to legalize gay marriage.

It is unlikely however that Li's suggestion will become law as it can only become a formal legislative proposal after it is signed by 30 out of the 3,000 NPC members and no officials have supported gay marriage during Li's previous four lobbies of the NPC.

Last year Li argued that if China legalizes gay marriage the country will gain the 'upper hand' over the United States, that was before President Obama announced his support.

Li's call for gay marriage in China is joined this year by the voices of parents of gay children - PFLAG China sent a letter to the NPC last week.

'Some of our children have been with their same-sex partners for almost ten years,' the letter said. 'They care for and love each other dearly, but they are unable to legally sign for their partners when they are ill and in need of an operation.'

The Chinese government rarely responds to calls from citizens, but that doesn't stop Li from persevering.

Li's proposal this year included six arguments for why China should legalize same-sex marriage, based on her own sociological research:

  • it's not against any current laws
  • the countries with the most advanced human rights laws allow same-sex marriage
  • if gay people could marry there would be more committed same-sex relationships which would halt the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • same-sex marriage will help with population control
  • if same-sex marriage is allowed gay men would not feel pressure to marry straight women, which causes a lot of emotional trauma in China
  • allowing same-sex marriage will create a more harmonious society

Li concludes:

'In short, allowing same-sex marriage will not harm China. This proposal is for the good of the nation, the people and the gay minority.' 

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