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China's
gays hold Valentine's Day protest for same-sex
marriage

China's
gays hold Valentine's Day protest for same-sex
marriage

Gays and lesbians in Beijing used Valentine's Day to make the first public appeal for the legalization of same-sex marriage in China. During a busy lunch hour in the capital's central business district several protesters handed out red carnations wrapped in flyers calling for the public support of same-sex unions. "Love has no boundaries; it is nothing to do with gender," the flyers read. "We are homosexuals. We also want a life together with our loved one...please support all kinds of partnerships and all kinds of love. Please support same-sex marriage." Such unauthorized protests are rare in China. In 2005 a gay and lesbian culture festival was broken up by police on the grounds that organizers had not sought permission to hold the event. "We were concerned about security...our action can be considered kind of political," said Xian, one of the lesbian protesters. Their protest, which lasted about 20 minutes, went ahead undisturbed. Of those who took flowers, many said they were behind the protesters. "I think it's only fair; it's everybody's right to get married," said Liu Peng, a straight 21-year-old banking student. "I support them. I think it's great." "I don't know when China will have gay marriage," he added. "Not now, but in the future I think China will have gay marriage, but I can't say when, maybe far in the future."

Not everyone supported the protesters. Christina Wang, a married 31-year-old corporate headhunter, who accepted a flower, said she opposed same-sex marriage because of her religion. "I am a Christian and I don't think it's right," Wang said. "I don't think it's healthy to be gay." The protest comes a few weeks before the annual meeting of China's parliament. Gays and lesbians had hoped that renowned sexologist Li Yinhe would submit a fourth proposal to parliament to legalize same-sex marriage--her three previous such proposals were each rejected. But in a recent blog entry, Li wrote she was retiring from campaigning for sexual rights. "Gay marriage is not something that our country can accept at this stage of its cultural development," wrote Li. (Dinah Gardner, The Advocate)

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