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Gay marriage is illegal in China. So here's what one couple is doing about it.

Even though they didn't get the outcome they hoped for, Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang made history.

Gay marriage is illegal in China. So here's what one couple is doing about it.

Several hundred cheering supporters joined Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang at China's Furong District Court, ready to make history.

The two men held hands as they entered the court to argue that their love and marriage are just as valid as a straight couple's. They would be the first same-sex marriage case heard before a Chinese court.


Sun Wenlin (left) and his partner, Hu Mingliang, arrive at the Furong District Court in Changsha in central China's Hunan province on April 13, 2016. AP Photo/Gerry Shih.

Sadly, the judge ruled against them, dashing their hopes of becoming the first legally married same-sex couple in China.

A lower court agreed to hear their case — a lawsuit against Changsha city authorities who rejected their marriage application — back in January. Unfortunately, the couple's argument didn't hold much legal merit, as China bans same-sex marriage pretty explicitly.

"The original text of the Marriage Law does not say one man and one woman, but a husband and a wife. I personally believe that this term refers not only to heterosexual couples but also to same-sex couples," said Sun.

While marriage rights for same-sex couples aren't in the cards just yet, China's gay rights movement has been gaining momentum.

As recently as 2001, being gay was considered a mental disorder. And while it's legal to be gay in China, the societal pressure to conform to traditional gender and family roles remains heavy, keeping many in the closet.

Gay couples kiss in 2011 during a ceremonial wedding to raise awareness for same-sex marriage. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Still, recent years have seen increasingly bold demonstrations, pride parades, and other signs of progress.

Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images.

Globally, same-sex marriage is still a fairly new concept.

It wasn't until 2000 that a country (The Netherlands) granted full marriage rights equally to both same- and opposite-sex couples, and just last year the U.S. did the same.

Vin Testa supports same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

If there's one thing we can learn from the gay rights movement around the world, it's that persistence pays off.

Sun and Hu plan to appeal the ruling. Their case has no doubt set the stage for something big. Maybe they won't win, but at very least, progress has been put in motion. Whenever same-sex marriage does come to China, these two brave men need to be among the pioneers remembered for their work.

Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

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Heather Cox Richardson didn't set out to build a fan base when she started her daily "Letters from an American." The Harvard-educated political historian and Boston College professor had actually just been stung by a yellow-jacket as she was leaving on a trip from her home in Maine to teach in Boston last fall when she wrote her first post.

Since she's allergic to bees, she decided to stay put and see how badly her body would react. With some extra time on her hands, she decided to write something on her long-neglected Facebook page. It was September of 2019, and Representative Adam Schiff had just sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence stating that the House knew there was a whistleblower complaint, the DNI wasn't handing it over, and that wasn't legal.

"I recognized, because I'm a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating," Richardson told Bill Moyers in an interview in July. "So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, 'cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down..."

By the time she got to Boston she has a deluge of questions from people about what she'd written.

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As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

Visit www.sunshineforall.com to learn more.

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Pride Month events were cancelled in Minot, North Dakota last June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the city decided to temporarily fly a Pride flag in support of the LGBTQ community at city hall earlier this month.

The flag ceremony was accompanied by the town's mayor, Shaun Sipma, proclaiming June as Pride Month in the city. This gesture ruffled a lot of feathers in Minot, a city of around 41,000 residents.

Spima said his decision to support the flag-raising stemmed from seeing "a population within our community that does need to have that issue addressed – the issue of hate. When they came to me, they had stated that they wanted a call for kindness, not necessarily acceptance but a call for kindness. And that I can appreciate."

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Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Harvard historian Donald Yacovone didn't set out to write the book he's writing. His plan was to write about the legacy of the antislavery movement and the rise of the Civil Rights era, but as he delved into his research, he ran into something that changed the focus of his book completely: Old school history textbooks.

Now the working title of his book is: "Teaching White Supremacy: The Textbook Battle Over Race in American History."

The first book that caught his attention was an 1832 textbook written Noah Webster—as in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary—called "History of the United States." Yacovone, a 2013 recipient of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois medal—the university's highest award for African American studies—told the Harvard Gazette about his discovery:

"In Webster's book there was next to nothing about the institution of slavery, despite the fact that it was a central American institution. There were no African Americans ever mentioned. When Webster wrote about Africans, it was extremely derogatory, which was shocking because those comments were in a textbook. What I realized from his book, and from the subsequent ones, was how they defined 'American' as white and only as white. Anything that was less than an Anglo Saxon was not a true American. The further along I got in this process, the more intensely this sentiment came out. I realized that I was looking at, there's no other word for it, white supremacy. I came across one textbook that declared on its first page, 'This is the White Man's History.' At that point, you had to be a dunce not to see what these books were teaching."

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