Chinese Vice-Premier Makes Gay Marriage Joke at U.S. Summit

By Daniel Reynolds

Originally published on Advocate.com July 12 2013 4:31 PM ET

Wang Yang, a vice-premier of China, compared the relationship between his country and the United States to a marriage. However, that marriage is not a gay one, he joked to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

“In China when we say a pair of new people, we mean a newlywed couple," Wang said said to Lew at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual conference between the two nations. "Although U.S. law does permit marriage between two men, I don't think this is what Jacob or I actually want."

A marriage, Wang went on to argue, requires trust and the ability to listen to one another, which are also essential components of international relations. He also referenced the failed relationship of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his ex-wife Wendi Deng, who was born in China, as another poor example for the nations to follow.

“[But] we cannot have a divorce the way Wendi and Rupert Murdoch just had," Wang stated. “For that, it would be too big a price to pay.”

Lew reportedly repressed a smile at Yang’s remarks, while the Chinese representatives appeared visibly uncomfortable.

“Sometimes humor doesn't translate into a foreign language, but I thought he showed a good sense of humor,” a senior official told Reuters, in response to the exchange.