Review of International Studies, 2011, Vol.37(3), pp.1313-1333
Abstract Using the case of same-sex marriage in China, this article explores two fundamental questions: What motivates a non-democratic state to promulgate a progressive human rights policy? More importantly, when a non-democratic state adopts such policies, what is the impact on activism? I argue that same-sex marriage legislation could be used strategically to improve China's human rights reputation. While this would extend a pinnacle right to gays and lesbians, the benefits might not outweigh the costs: I show that when imposed from above, a same-sex marriage law would incur opportunity costs on activism; the passage of this progressive policy would eliminate an important issue around which the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender/-sexual (LGBT) community might develop. Moreover, even if such policy is promulgated, the right to marry will do little to challenge the larger social pressures that make life difficult for LGBT Chinese.
Homosexuals ; Married Persons ; Strategic Behaviour ; Sexual Perversions ; Human Rights ; Democracy ; Activism ; Opportunity Cost ; Legislation ; Social Acceptance ; China ; U.S.A. ; Political Science;