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BEIJING (Web Desk) – A judge has rejected a gay couple’s attempt to secure the right to marry in China’s first same-sex marriage case.

The court in the city of Changsha on Wednesday threw out the suit against the local civil affairs bureau that refused to issue the couple a marriage registration certificate, the Guardian reported.

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The couple’s lawyer Shi Funong said he expected the ruling not so soon – within just a few hours. The plaintiff Sun Wenlin said he would appeal until he exhausts all legal options.

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The lawsuit comes amid growing awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in China, where society and the government have generally frowned on non-traditional expressions of gender and sexuality.

China doesn’t legally recognise same-sex marriage and officials with the central government have said they do not see the law changing soon.

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Homosexuality was still considered a mental health issue by many Chinese doctors and the country had no anti-discrimination law.

Some Chinese psychiatrists continue to prescribe electric shock treatment to gay patients in an attempt to “cure” them.