The United States Consul General in Shanghai Hanscom Smith GS'89 recently married his partner Lu Yingzong, also known as Eric Lu, in San Francisco recently while on vacation. The American consulate in Shanghai documented Smith’s vacation and website in Chinese on its official Weibo account.
Same-sex marriage has not been legalized yet in China.
Julia Mason, a press officer and spokesperson at the United States Department of State, said that her agency congratulates the couple on their marriage.
“We congratulate Consul General Hanscom Smith on his marriage to his long-time partner Eric Lu, and wish them a long and happy life together,” she said.
While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in China, public sentiments toward the subject have shifted significantly in the last decade, according toZhenghuaWang, an editorfor China Daily Shanghai Bureau’s social media group the New Media Group. China Daily is part of a state-run media.
“At the beginning of this century, homosexuality was still viewed as a mental disease in China but15 years lateryou can see that the gay marriage and many blessings and that’s a big change,” Wang said.
Wang added that Smith’s marriage marks the first of its kind between an U.S. official and a Chinese-American.
“The gay groups in China are getting very excited because it involves the U.S. and China, the two biggest countries,” added Wang.
According to Wang, after China Daily published an article about Smith’s marriage, the story has received mostly positive reactions from the Chinese public. Wang said that he has seen more than 200 comments, which is above average. He added that the post was shared and talked about a lot on social media.
“Of course there were negative comments, but they were overwhelmed by the voices supporting and blessing it,” Wang said. “There were comments where some say it’s against nature but it’s overwhelmed by the positive comments.”
Recently, a same-sex couple in China took their case to a district court where it was accepted but the judge ultimately ruled against their ability to marry.
Smith did not respond to a request for comment. The United States Consulate in Shanghai did not respond to requests for comment.
Smith has been the consul general since September 2014.