The two same-sex couples – one male, and one female – had shown up at the marriage office as part of a Valentine’s Day campaign by the Beijing LGBT Centre to drum up support for gay marriage in China.
The four individuals, not boyfriends and girlfriends in real life, arrived at the marriage office in the morning with all the necessary paperwork, and were surprised to be turned away rather politely by centre employees.
“I thought we’d be driven out, but to my surprise, the office employees were very nice when they heard we wanted gay marriage,” said Zhang Yunyi, one of the participants, to the Global Times.
“The office employees offered us their blessings, and told us to wait until changes were made to the marriage law,” she said.
Undeterred, the two couples held their own “wedding ceremony” outside the registration office anyway, proudly displaying marriage certificates they had made themselves.
“We saw the results coming, but we went anyway. We just want to send a message to the government and the public that homosexuals also want and should have the right to get married,” said Guo Ziyang, campaign organiser and executive director at the Beijing LGBT Center.
While China recognises neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions, an amendment to the marriage law has been proposed multiple times to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference by Li Yinhe, a leading sexologist and scholar-activist in Beijing.