A landmark same sex marriage case was dismissed today by a judge in central China, but gay activists praised the suit for raising awareness of the issue in a country where homosexuals still face considerable social disapproval.

The case, believed to be China’s first test of the right of homosexuals to marry, was thrown out after only a short hearing when the court found that Chinese law requires that only a man and a woman may marry, writes the FT’s Patti Waldmeir.

The plantiffs had claimed that the law allowed “a husband and a wife” to marry but did not specify their gender. Gay activists were not expecting the case to have much chance of succeeding.

Sun Wenlin, a 27-year-old employee of an internet firm, asked the court to overrule a local authority which denied him the right to marry his partner, a 37-year-old security guard he met online. In China, many gays enter into opposite sex marriages to satisfy family and to have children. But same sex marriage is illegal.

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