Sun Wenlin, a 26-year-old Chinese man, has filed the country’s first suit for the right to marry someone of the same sex. A court in Sun’s hometown of Changsha, capital of the Hunan province, accepted the case on Tuesday, and he was optimistic that the suit will be successful. China’s marriage law provides for the freedom to marry and gender equality, words that Sun will apply to the same-sex marriage case in order to form a family unit with his 36-year-old partner.
Homosexuality is not illegal in China, where many cities have a thriving gay scene, but there are no legal safeguards or rights for same-sex couples, Reuters reported. According to Sun, his first attempt to marry his boyfriend was rejected at the Furong district civil affairs bureau in June, where an official told him that “marriage had to be between a man and a woman”.
Sun’s case might bolster the cause of gay rights in the country, which took homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses in 2001. The case is likely to be heard within six months and could bring more legal action of its kind if successful.