Two couples in Hong Kong have teamed up to launch a new group to lobby the government to recognize civil partnerships and same-sex marriages performed overseas; and ultimately same-sex marriage
French expatriate Betty Grisoni and her Singaporean wife Abby Lee, together with Hongkonger and Canadian passport holder Guy Ho and his husband Henry Lam, will officially launch their group Double Happiness today.
Grisoni, 43, and Lee, 41, who had a commitment ceremony in Sydney in 2002, will also be celebrating their 12th anniversary today.
‘We set up Double Happiness because we felt that there wasn’t any proper organization representing gay and lesbian couples that are married overseas and want their marriage officially recognized by the Hong Kong government’, Lee said in a media statement.
Hong Kong does not allow same-sex marriages nor does it recognize same-sex marriages performed in other countries.
‘We are also representing couples fighting to get married in Hong Kong either in Hong Kong’s registration offices or consulates of countries which laws allow same sex marriages,’ says Lee who is campaigning to marry her partner at the French Consulate in Hong Kong.
Ho, 52, and Lam, 36, who were married in Canada in 2011, have been campaigning for several years to have their marriage recognized by the Hong Kong government.
‘Marriage is a basic human right and in Hong Kong, where there is not even a law against discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation, marriage equality still has some way to go. It is regrettable that the Hong Kong government currently recognizes neither homosexual civil unions or same-sex marriage,’ says Lam.
Same-sex couples whose partnerships are not officially recognized cannot access insurance coverage for their spouse in Hong Kong nor will his or her spouse be recognized as their legal partner for various purposes from immigration to hospital visits.
The group also aims to actively campaign to raise awareness of the importance of marriage to same-sex couples, and for the Hong Kong government to afford same-sex couples identical rights married heterosexual couples are accorded through civil partnership or same-sex marriage laws.