The legitimacy of homosexual marriage has always been a hot issue across the globe, and there are many disputes about whether homosexual marriage should be legitimated. Eation Xiao is a supporter of homosexual marriage, and has endured hard experiences in his life. He wants to equality of homosexual marriage, but, due to different politics, histories and cultures of different countries, there are different laws and social conditions for specific issues. Regarding the issue of homosexual marriage equality, social environments and lawful regulations are worthy of discussion.
On the campus of Sydney University, Eation Xiao accepted my interview. He took out a cigarette, and began to tell his story. Xiao has known he has been gay for 14 years. During these years, he had an unforgettable boyfriend. At that time, Eation and Denis Zheng were both in China. They were classmates in high school. When they were studying at universities, they lived in the same city. After suffering the sudden death of Xiao’s father, Zheng was always encouraging and supportive to Xiao. While living together, they realised they had an affection for each other. Xiao said：“ when they were together at the beginning，we did not live in the dormitory while renting a room outside. One day, I found the light in my room was broken, so I went to his room. That night we hugged together, and I soon knew that our hearts were connected.”
Like homosexual lovers, they lived through four years of college life breaking up and getting back together. When they were about to graduate, Zheng went to work in the government, and Xiao served as a teacher. In China, homosexual marriage is not legally protected. The law only protects basic civilian rights rather than the right of equal marriage. Under that condition, homosexuality is ignominious. Xiao said:“At that time, I knew we might break up pretty soon, because he was about to start government work and building his political career. In government organisations, homosexuality is hardly accepted. If his colleagues and leaders knew, he would be treated unequally, which could significantly impact his career. If we continued, we would not even be able to get married. There are no laws related to homosexual marriage. Even though we were together, it could only be in secret.”
In China, it is very difficult for homosexuality to be accepted. In the greater Chinese environment, the support rate for homosexuality by Chinese civilians is quite low. In 2013, opinion polls showed the support rate was 21%, 57% of Chinese respondents responded “no.”If the government were to promote legitimating homosexual marriage, it would be based on civilian opinion. If civilians don’t support homosexual marriage, it is difficult for the law to protect homosexual marriage.
Xiao said: “our relationship is not recognized by society. In some people’s eyes, although they do not say, they actually repel homosexuality. Due to societal pressure, we are not ready for marriage or to stay together forever.” Xiao believed the homosexual community was not prepared for the legitimacy of homosexual marriage. Zheng suffered from a severe car accident while working. At that time, Xiao was on a business trip. When he returned to see Zheng, over ten of Zheng’s relatives were there. When Xiao went in, everyone looked at him. Zheng told them was his best friend. Xiao said: “ I realised there could be no result between us. After experiencing death, Zheng did not have the courage to admit their true relationship, only masking it as good friends.” Even if homosexual marriage were legitimate, not many homosexual couples would dare get married in China now. They dare not face the comments and misunderstanding of their family members and friends. Given the pressures, Zheng and Xiao ultimately broke up. Afterwards, Xiao moved to Australia alone to start his new life. He commented: “The environment here is relaxing. Attitudes toward homosexuals are definitely distinctive, and there are laws to protect the lawful rights of homosexual people.”Homosexual marriage is not recognized by federal law in Australia; only certain states have granted rights for homosexual relationships, i.e. New South Wales, Queensland, and Australian Capital Territory. On 1 January 2004, Tasmanian state law started to recognise civilian homosexual relationships, including the right to adopt children. Tasmania is the only state to issue a law, which guarantees the rights of homosexual people.
Admit the same-sex marriage
Admit the fact same-sex relationships across the country
The social environment of Australia is relaxing. Laws protecting the legitimate rights of homosexual people are many, but Xiao indicated: “Australia acknowledges the homosexual relationship, but it is difficult for these people to get marriage testimony. The social environment Australian society provides for homosexuals is relatively relaxing, and the law protects legitimate rights of homosexuals, e.g. property and cohabitation relationship. This is significantly better than the social environment of China. But to achieve marriage equality, we have much to wait for.”
Australia is actually the pioneer in protecting the rights of homosexual people, acknowledging homosexual relationships with federal law very early. Be it homosexual or heterosexual, as long as the couple has lived together for over a year it constitutes an actual marriage relationship, which enjoys the same welfare as married couples. Homosexual partners can apply for immigration and couple guarantee rights just like other couples.
There are actually existing contradictions on the issue of marriage legitimacy in Australia. The influence on the offspring, traditional religious thoughts and the economy are inevitable. Xiao said: “Although there are disputes about homosexual marriage equality, I believe it will become better, and the government will actively promote the issuance of law.” Australia addressed the issue of homosexual marriage long ago, introducing three ordinance drafts aimed to modify the marriage law of Act 1961 at the 43rdParliament. These modifications strived to allow marriage regardless of gender. If the drafts had passed, bans on homosexual marriage beyond the territory of Australia would have been over ruled. These bills were valued and investigated by members of the Parliament, but they were not passed. This is the further exploration of equal rights for homosexual people by the government. Currently, whether in China or Australia, there still exist many more things for the government, civilians, and homosexual marriage supporters to do.
Keywords: same- sex marriage, equality, law