It seems that history repeats itself, and this time in another country.
In the country of Japan, LGBTQ people have been using a workaround to gay marriage for some time now. By placing their lover in their family registry as legal guardians, they gain a pseudo-sense of family and some legal protections.
But nothing beats marriage equality. Sadly, only some regions and cities have legalized gay marriage. But many progressive politicians, such as the recently elected Taiga Ishikawa, promise to bring gay marriage to the entire nation.
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many politicians saying the same in China. As such, many Chinese citizens are sticking with the turning daddies to fathers idea.
According to Sohu News, same-sex couples are adopting the tried-and-true practice of naming their partners as legal guardians. The idea is that by stating their lovers as a legal guardian, the couple gains access to healthcare and property rights.
“While same-sex marriage is illegal in China, gay and lesbian couples are grappling with a string of same issues facing heterosexual couples, such as healthcare, senior care, and inheritance,” said Li Chenyang, an officer at the notary office in Shanghai’s Putuo District, to SupChina.
“What we are attempting to achieve is eradicating legal loopholes and solving social problems for them,” added Li, who has worked on a dozen guardianship cases since October 2017.
While it’s legal in China for adults to appoint their own guardians under mutual agreement, the process isn’t easy. Some notary offices can enact interview sessions to gleem if the legal change can cause a risk of “disrupting public order or morality.”
But despite its limitations, many gay and lesbian couples see mutual guardianship as the closest thing to a marriage certificate. And with access to healthcare, property rights, will/post-mortem rights, perhaps this is the current best option for LGBTQ people in China.
“[For them] the title is not important, what matters most is to be able to get each other’s guardianship rights,” said Li.
But that’s not all. There are even straight people who are using this legal guardians method to better their lives and relationships. As NextShark reports, Li has also come across straight people who used the method despite being in a platonic relationship.
“One of the most impressive cases I have involves two men who live with each other,” Li recalled. “The older man is in his 60s, has no family or friends, and lives alone. The young man is in his early 40s and has divorced his wife.”
“The old man relies on the young man, a driver, in his daily life. On one occasion, the driver helped the old man and sent him back to his home. After that, they contacted each other, helped each other and finally moved to live together,” Li said.
“The old man provided food and accommodation to the driver, while the driver helped him take a bath and took him for rides. After describing the intended guardianship, their custodial relationship has been proven under the law. I am not sure whether there is a same-sex relationship between them, but it is not important.”