China: Father of gay child calls for legalising homosexual marriage

Beijing: The father of a Chinese gay man has written letters to 1,000 legislators asking them to initiate moves during the upcoming parliament session to bring about a law legalizing homosexual marriage in the country.

Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference comprised of nominated members begins its sessions tomorrow followed by main legislature National People's Congress.

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In his letter, 61-year-old Lin Xianzhi hopes that his proposals could help secure equal rights for homosexual couples including medical care, inheritance and property purchases, state-run Global Times reported today. Lin's son, Xiaotao, came out of the closet in 2011.

Xiaotao told the daily that his father gradually changed from a mindset of denial to one of acceptance. He suggested Lin help others do the same. Lin joined the advocacy group Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) China as a volunteer, and developed his plan.

"They are no different than straight couples, and it is unfair for them not to be able to get married," Lin said, adding that it is a common issue faced by over 50 million families in China.

Li Yinhe, a sociologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has long been an advocate of legalising gay marriage. He said, "according to research by my group, although homosexuals in China face less social pressure than their counterparts in many other countries, there are still obstructions. Lin's move should be supported."

Ah Qiang, founder of PFLAG China, said Lin's move could bring more gay parents to the realisation that they should not discriminate or try to convert their children, but instead should call for their equal rights.

"It is very unlikely it will be introduced as national legislation in the short term, as it requires wide consensus among legislators," said Liu Guofu, a law professor with the Beijing Institute of Technology.

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