Together for 50 years, a lawsuit reminds China that love and marriage are very different things

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04/22/2021

After more than 50 years of living with her partner, a Chinese lesbian woman in her late 70s faced a lawsuit from her partner’s family to return money, jewellery and even appliances that they shared. The ruling came despite the judge’s acknowledgement that the couple, who are surnamed Yuan and Li, would be considered a couple by society’s standards, just not the law’s. The case, which took place in Shenyang in China’s northeastern Liaoning province between the families of the former lesbian couple, has underlined legal gaps that can make it impossible for the LGBT community to find lawful recourse to disputes because same-sex marriage is illegal in China.

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