Hong Kong’s Ban On Same Sex Marriage Gets Challenged

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Two gay men received the green light to challenge Hong Kong’s laws banning same-sex marriage. The two are arguing in High Court that the law violates their right to equality.

The university student, known as TF, and the activist, known as STK, challenged Hong Kong’s same sex marriage ban separately. Both cases argued to the High Court that the lack of options for same sex-couples to get married violated their rights under Hong Kong’s “Bill of Rights,” and mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Numerous challenges have been brought up to the courts recently dealing with the city’s marriage laws. In August, a woman in Hong Kong sued the government to be able to enter a same-sex civil partnership.

Some LGBT activists and legal experts fear that if these challenges are unsuccessful, then smaller, incremental future advancements to LGBT rights will be significantly more difficult to make.

One human rights lawyer, who preferred not to be named, said it was important to lay a foundation before bringing such a big case.

“Launching that case prematurely without laying a proper foundation could be disastrous as under our system of law, an adverse precedent could take many years to overcome and end up delaying change for decades,” he said.

Both cases went through judicial review last year, but only recently were made public.

On the cases of the two applicants, Barrister Hectar Pun Hei SC said because the ordinance only allowed “voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others,” the Marriage Ordinance and Matrimonial Causes Ordinance were “inconsistent” with the city’s human rights laws.

“By reformulating the relevant statute … [my client STK] can get married immediately,” the barrister went on to say.

If these cases are successful, Hong Kong could become the next part of the rainbow wave in China.

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