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September 7, 2014

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British diplomat marries same-sex partner

THE United Kingdom’s Consul-General in Shanghai yesterday married his same-sex partner in a ceremony in Beijing.

Brian Davidson and American-Chinese Scott Chang tied the knot at the residence of Britain’s Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood. Later, Davidson posted messages and a photograph on his Weibo account in which he expressed his gratitude for Britain’s acceptance of gay couples.

“I’m proud the law of the United Kingdom gives me the right to marry my partner,” adding in Chinese that “it showcases our country’s respect for everyone.”

Davidson said that the ceremony gave him and his husband the opportunity to make a pledge — in front of their families and friends, from the UK, the United States and China — that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

The message was an instant hit, picking up 8,000 admirers and being forwarded more than 13,000 times, including by Ambassador Wood, who said he was “glad and proud” to have been able to host the wedding.

The British Embassy in Beijing’s official microblog quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: “When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.”

Internet users, of course, offered their views on the same-sex marriage.

An unnamed man said that the “symbol of civilization is to respect other people’s choices,” while another simply described the men’s marriage as “an act of bravery.”

Less supportive of the happy event was an unnamed woman who imparted the wisdom that while “homosexuality is not a fault,” people “should never promote it.”

Meanwhile, Hanscom Smith, who will tomorrow begin work as the United States Consul-General in Shanghai, told Beijing Today earlier that as a gay man he felt respected in China.

“When people ask me if I’m married, I say no, I’m not, I have a partner,” he said.

“Some older people go quiet, but younger ones are more open and accepting,” he said.

“I haven’t faced many awkward situations or discrimination, though that might be because of my position and because I’m a foreigner,” he said.

According to the US Consulate’s website, Smith’s partner is Eric Lu.


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