A Chinese sociologist is encouraging her country to allow gay marriage so that homophobic discrimination will end.

Li Yinhe, a sociologist and member of the advisory body to parliament, is submitting a proposal on same-sex marriage. Homosexuality was seen a mental disorder in China until 2001.

She has pushed the government on similar laws twice before but never had enough support, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Ms Li told the agency , that the “cultural environment in the country is not yet prepared for such a proposal”. A gay cultural festival, where she was due to speak last year, was raided by police and shut down.

The expert argues that supporting gay marriage would promote stable relationships and safe sex that could help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.