Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China’s legal position, a parliament spokesman said, ruling out following neighboring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists.
Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill in May that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities, but there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalize same-sex marriage.
Asked at a news briefing whether China would legalize same-sex marriage, Zang Tiewei, spokesman for parliament’s legal affairs commission, said Chinese law only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman.
Individual Chinese legislators have occasionally in the past few years proposed measures during the annual meeting of the largely rubber-stamp parliament every March to legalize same-sex marriage, without success.
There are no laws against same-sex relations in China and despite growing awareness of LGBT issues, the community has been the target of censors in recent months, fuelling fears of a growing intolerance.
Activists have asked people in China to propose amendments to a draft civil code en masse, though they have admitted they see little chance of success. The parts of the code relating to marriage are expected to pass into law next year.
The code makes changes on issues such as sexual harassment, divorce and family planning, but does not further the rights of the LGBT community, drafts published by parliament show.
LGBT couples protest on Valentine's Day
to push for marriage equality in China