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ILGA Stephen Barris, ILGA
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Beijing's First Gay Marriage Sparks Storm Online

in CHINA, 07/02/2011

Beijing's first gay marriage between two men was held in Beijing on Saturday amid a storm of controversy over same sex unions, the Beijing Times reported. Da Wen and Xiao Qiang (not their real names) held a 'comparatively open' wedding ceremony with about fifty friends in attendance after meeting three years ago in an internet gay community.

'We just want to live a stable life as normal couples do, no matter if the wedding is held or not,' said Xiao Qiang. 'The society is more open than before, which makes us brave enough to show the public' Da Wen added.

The couple displayed marriage certificates similar to ones issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, but they are not believed to be real as gay marriage is not legally recognised in China. It is thought to be the first wedding held between two men in Beijing. Gay women previously held a ceremony in South China's Guangdong province.

The wedding was held with the presence of an emcee, Xiao Dong, who works at the Beijing Rainbow Volunteer Station on HIV/Aids prevention. 'Their marriage is a remarkable move in the gay community because a settled-down relationship helps reduce the chances of Aids infection,' said Xiao.

Statistics from a 2010 Health Report conducted by the Beijing Health Bureau show among the 1,233 new HIV/Aids cases last year in Beijing, the ratio of male to female was 7.62: 1, with 60 per cent of new infections contracted by man-to-man sexual relations. 'They set a model among gay couples, to encourage more gays to have a stable relationship, which not only benefit themselves but also the whole society.' Xiao added. -- CHINA DAILY/ANN
 

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