Chinese Soften on Same-Sex Marriage
Pressure to marry can trump opposition to homosexuality
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2009 10:25 AM CST
Acceptance of gays in growing in China, but the pressure to marry remains enormous.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
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(Newser) – Gay men and lesbians took to the streets of Beijing in tuxedos and wedding gowns last week to voice their support for same-sex marriage, the Guardian reports. Acceptance is growing in China, which only a decade ago criminalized gay sex and listed homosexuality as a mental illness. But the Chinese marriage debate has a different tenor: Although gays don't face Western-style religious intolerance, the family pressure to wed and have a child is enormous.

The Beijing "brides" and "grooms" faced some heckling, but the importance of marriage and family may actually help the movement. One father described once wanting to kill his son and blow up the gay bar he ran. Now, he's bought a house for the son and his boyfriend and is eager to see them wed. "These people want marriage and it's their right," he said. "We must learn to accept them."