One of China’s largest and most popular news websites has stirred a nasty debate about gay marriage in a nation where homosexuality still remains a social taboo.
Professor Li Yinhe, China’s long time same-sex marriage advocate, was invited to discuss the issue of same-sex marriage on the NetEase website, but claims made in a response by Li Tie, the editor of southern China’s influential The Times Weekly, against gay marriage have triggered strong emotions.
While Li Tie’s opinion piece acknowledges that gay people have the right to love and live together, his statements appear homophobic, hypocritical and narrow-minded.
“Exercising caution on legalizing same-sex marriage is not an act of discrimination,” begins the editor. “Conditions usually apply when protecting minorities’ rights.”
“The impacts of same-sex marriage include the ‘domino effect’ that it may bring upon the marriage system,” he warns. “Once same-sex marriage is legalized, it may lead to the debates on legalizing ‘multi-partner marriage’ and ‘human-animal marriage’.
“If the law recognizes same-sex marriage, what about the ‘rights’ to adultery, incest or pedophilia? Does this bring a challenge to the bottom line of civilization?”
The writer also misquoted since-debunked studies suggesting same-sex couples were more likely to abuse children. No scientific research has ever provided such evidence.
Comments underneath Li Tie’s article varied between harsh criticism of the writer, and extreme homophobia.
“Gays should be buried alive so that their gay disease won’t infect more people,” typed one hatemonger.
Another comment blasted the write-up: “Please the author do your homework well before you start to write an article like this as people will see how ignorant you are. And don’t bring up those “human-animal” or “three-people marriage” or stories of incest again, as the attempt to represent a far vaster group with some extreme cases is clearly an act of discrimination.”
It’s interesting to see this debate going in Chinese media and good to find that increasing numbers of people believe the rights of GLBT community need to be protected, but it’s upsetting to see homophobia in a public forum.
“Love” is a matter of freedom. “Marriage” is a matter of law.
Before we begin the discussion of “legalizing same-sex marriage”, the first thing that needs to be clear is that how we look at homosexuality is completely different from discussing same-sex marriage in the context of law. Two individuals of the same sex falling in love is same-sex love, but same-sex marriage refers to the relationship that is recognized and protected by law or society.
As our society progresses, more and more people agree that gays and lesbians have the right to love and to live together and can also be referred as “partners”. These are matters that are within their personal rights. Once it comes to legalizing same-sex marriage, it must be a kind of “civil union” which is recognized by the law.
Legalizing same-sex marriage-Ethics, law and religion “none shall be missed”
Compared to Western countries, the debate on same-sex marriage in China is fairly simple. The reasons that same-sex marriage advocators provide are too simple: same-sex marriage is a private matter and individual freedom between the two people, so the law should allow and protect same-sex marriage. For those who are against same-sex marriage, a majority of them don’t have specific reasons except merely saying that it’s against the natural order, immoral and offensive.
Because marriage itself is full of various values, same-sex marriage involves much more than homosexuality. In countries with long-time Christian traditions, same-sex marriage must overcome the “religious barrier” in addition to legal and social ethical objections.
As a part of the social system, marriage needs ethical and legal support.
It’s quite often that a majority of same-sex marriage advocators are from the “elite groups”. However, this advocacy sometimes is only out of the “rebellion” against traditional morals and ethics as in the past traditional morals were associated with power, hypocrisy and autocracy. Therefore liberal groups tend to simply equalize same-sex marriage with human rights, tolerance and civilization, and believe advocating same-sex marriage is an act of pioneer and freedom. However in terms of law, the idea of “as long as it’s a freedom it should be allowed” is debatable.
Marriage is the cornerstone of human relationships and it will easily collapse if any kinds of consensual relationship can become “marriage”. No matter you want to admit or not, marriage system itself is not a “private thing” but associated with a lot of public functions such as spouse medical welfare, housing benefits and tax reduction. Since marriage is protected by public powers, its publicness is obvious. Back to the topic of same-sex marriage, same-sex couples are surely free to love, but it depends a lot on law and ethics when it comes to the recognition of law.
Same-sex marriage may extend the concept of marriage that may go far beyond the homosexual community.
The impacts of same-sex marriage include the “domino effect” that it may bring upon the marriage system. Once same-sex marriage is legalized, it may lead to the debates on legalizing “multi-partner marriage” and “human-animal marriage”. If the law recognizes same-sex marriage, what about the “rights” to adultery, incest or pedophilia? Does this bring the challenge to the bottom line of civilization?
Same-sex marriage is not included into human rights by the world’s mainstream. It is not the “trend of human right development” either.
Same-sex marriage advocators believe that the right to marry is a part of human rights so anti-same-sex marriage is anti-human rights. This opinion is merely a simple interpretation of human rights. As a matter of fact, none of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on civil and political rights and International Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognize same-sex marriage but clearly state that marriage is between male and female adults.
In addition, it’s too early to say “same-sex marriage is the trend of human rights development” as only a few countries in the world recognize same-sex marriage despite numerous GBLT activities. In a very open-mined and liberal country such as the US, 90% of states don’t recognize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex families have lurking instability.
Children of same-sex families are an important factor to be considered. Researchers show that 29% of the children adopted by same-sex parents have suffered sexual assault, compare to 0.6% in heterosexual parents families.
Same-sex marriage needs religion to be the “bottom line”.
China’s long time same-sex marriage advocator, Professor Li Yinhe once pointed out that compared to Western culture, Chinese culture has its advantages in terms of legalizing same-sex marriage as there are no religious factors in Chinese culture to object same-sex marriage. In fact, this may not be a good thing. Christianity is still the core value in Western society, which holds the balance when the impact of same-sex marriage arrives.
In Western countries, religion is indeed the major power of against same-sex marriage but this objection is not necessarily “arbitrary and unreasonable”. In contemporary Chinese society, due to the loss of tradition, this kind of balancing power no longer exists. Therefore, there is no “coordination of values and ethics” when facing issues such as same-sex marriage.
Germany has yet to completely recognizes same-sex marriage but they have gay mayor and gay vice prime minister. We should defend the freedom of same-sex love, but when it comes to legislation, please give way to rationality.
Translation of some readers’ comments below the article:
“Gays should be buried alive so that their gay disease won’t infect more people.”
“They are living their own lives. What’s your business about it?”
“Legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to the extinction of humanity!”
“Initially it seemed to be a good article on same-sex marriage, but turns out to be a piece of shit demonizing GLBTs. Please the author do your homework well before you start to write an article like this as people will see how ignorant you are. And don’t bring up those “human-animal” or “three-people marriage” or stories of incest again, as the attempt to represent a far vaster group with some extreme cases is clearly an act of discrimination.”