POLITICS

Hong Kong Court Rules NO on Same-Sex Marriage

A court in Hong Kong delivered a major setback to marriage equality on Friday by upholding the city’s denial of relationship recognition to LGBTQ couples.

Judge Anderson Chow of the Court of First Instance ruled on Friday that extending marriage rights to LGBTQ+ couples would lead to “far-reaching consequences” and that it was “beyond the proper scope of the functions or powers of the court, in the name of interpretation, to seek to effect a change of social policy on such a fundamental issue.”

Hong Kong’s ruling is a stark contrast to Taiwan’s 2017 ruling, which made Taiwan the first country to allow same-sex marriage in Asia.Its constitutional court ruled that refusing to recognize LGBTQ+ couples is “unconstitutional” and gave lawmakers two years to pass a marriage equality bill or the freedom to marry would automatically become law.

At the time conservatives in Taiwan pushed a national referendum, but the result was non-binding. The parliament passed a bill in May, which was signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen.

Although this is a major blow to members of the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong, there have been positive developments, such as a ruling in 2013 determined a transgender woman had the right to marry her boyfriend, the High Court directed the legislature to draft a bill recognizing their union, and the law was enacted in 2014. 

Last year the Court of Final Appeal granted spousal visa rights to same-sex couples and extended partner benefits to a gay couple earlier this year.

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