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Sociologist Calls for Legalizing Same-sex Marriage
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A famous Chinese sociologist said on Friday she will submit a proposal on same-sex marriage again to the annual session of the country's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Li Yinhe, a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said the legitimation of same-sex marriage is an effective way to help eliminate discrimination against homosexuality.
This will be the third time for the expert on marriage and sex studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to submit a similar proposal.
Admitting she is aware it is unlikely for her proposal to win approval, the sociologist said she still feels it her duty to help the country's gays and lesbians win favorable living environment.
She said the cultural environment in the country is not yet "prepared" for such a proposal.
Her two previous proposals were shelved because she failed to get the minimum support of 30 fellow members.
However, she said 60 percent of respondents in a survey, about which she did not give details, showed their tolerance to same-sex marriage.
The Information Times, a newspaper based in Guangzhou, capital of China's southern Guangdong Province, said that Li's proposal got support from more than 600 netizens after it was revealed in the Internet community.
A government-sponsored survey at the end of 2004 showed that China has 5 to 10 million gays, while the number of lesbians remains unclear.
However, some experts estimated the number is much higher.
A gay activist self-called A'nan in Guangzhou said that gays in China do not have favorable platforms to find partners, who can only go to bars, parks and sauna houses to seek short-term relations or even one night affairs.
As China is seeing rising cases of HIV infections via sex, Li warned that it is crucial for gay people to be aware of the threat and take preventive measures.
The expert believes marriage between gays, which makes stable relations and safe sex possible, can help rein the spread of the deadly epidemic.
China wiped homosexuality from its list of psychosis in 2001.
The Fourth Session of the Tenth National Committee of the CPPCC opened in Beijing at 3:00 PM Friday and will last about 10 days. 

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2006)


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