More than 100 parents of gay and lesbian children have signed a letter calling for same-sex marriage to be made legal in China.
In the letter, posted online, they say: "Some of our children have lived with their same-sex partners for nearly 10 years. They love and take care of each other, but when one of them gets sick and needs a legal signature for emergency surgery, his or her partner cannot even sign as a family member."
It adds: "As their parents, we are often worried as homosexuals cannot legally get married so they would meet difficulties when adopting a child, signing for medical surgeries, and even purchasing apartments."
On Tuesday, two women identified as "Jiu Jiu" and "A'ya" went to a marriage register center in Guangzhou to apply to be married, but their request was immediately rejected, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
An official is said to have told them: "Only a man and a woman can apply for marriage here. This is written in the Chinese marriage law."
The women told the newspaper they were disappointed at the response but had decided to hold a wedding without marriage certificates.
The previous day, Ma Yuyu and Elise Liao had gone to a Beijing registry to apply but were also turned down.
The official told them Chinese law did not recognize a marriage between two women and then he "quickly retreated into a back room when they tried to discuss gay marriage with him," the newspaper said.
"The two separate cases have shown that the two lesbian couples are desperate to express their need to get married," said an official surnamed Hu with PFLAG China (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Hu said more than 100 parents had joined an online discussion group run by the organization where they frequently expressed dismay that their children could not get married.
They had decided to publish an open letter online to urge a change in the law.
"It is ridiculous that our children don't love the opposite sex but they have the right to marry them," the letter said.