LGBT Couples Not Entitled to Full Property Rights, Court Rules

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05/21/2021

A court’s recent ruling that same-sex couples aren’t entitled to the same property rights as married heterosexual couples has once again highlighted the legal predicaments many LGBT people face. On April 12, the Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court in the northeastern Liaoning province ruled against a 79-year-old woman who had sued her partner of 50 years, accusing her of stealing, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Wednesday. “The relationship between same-sex couples is not protected or regulated by China’s Marriage Law,” read the final verdict, upholding a previous judgement that said such cohabitation doesn’t constitute marriage. The legal fiasco started when the plaintiff, surnamed Yuan, sued her partner, surnamed Li, for refusing to pay back 294,000 yuan ($45,200). Yuan alleged that Li, also 79, had stolen the money from her bank account. According to the verdict, Yuan was diagnosed with cerebral atrophy in 2015, which is associated with reduced cognitive function. Her sister, who has served as Yuan’s legal guardian since then, initiated the lawsuit.

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