Hong Kong Equal Opportunities boss says civil unions possible

Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission chair York Chow says civil unions for gay and lesbian couples could be a ‘feasible' alternative for same-sex marriage

Hong Kong Equal Opportunities boss says civil unions possible
23 October 2013

The head of Hong Kong’s leading human rights body has sad that Hong Kong should consider civil unions for same-sex couples as an achievable alternative to letting them marry because of conservative views in the Chinese territory.

Equal Opportunities Commission chair Dr York Chow Yat-ngok told the South China Morning Post that while governments elsewhere consider the issue of equal treatment under the law to be a ‘matter of human rights,’ conservative views in Hong Kong will make it difficult to have full equality in marriage.

‘To use “marriage” for same-sex couples would be rather difficult to accept for Hongkongers, especially the conservative ones,’ Chow told the newspaper.

‘Overseas governments first thought of dropping the term “marriage” and replacing it with “civil union.” Legally, though, the protection is identical. I think this is feasible.

‘I, and the commission, are of the view that the LGBT community should be provided with the same opportunities [as heterosexuals] wherever possible.’

Chow hopes an upcoming amendment to allow post-operative transgender people to be legally recognized as their preferred gender will spark debate around the issue.

The amendment came about when a transgender woman who was seeking to marry a man took the issue to the Hong Kong High Court which gave the Security Bureau a year to decide whether the law needed to be amended to reflect its ruling that the legal definition of woman should include a post-operative male-to-female transsexual.

‘If a person gets married and then changes his or her gender, this becomes a same-sex marriage,’ Chow said.

‘Whether this should be legally enforceable remains contentious. And an ensuing question is should same-sex marriage be allowed as well?’

The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong says it will oppose civil unions, with a spokesman saying that ‘to compare homosexuals’ rights with heterosexuals’ rights is like comparing apple and orange.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Britain must do better on sex education for LGBT youngsters

Andy Bell, openly gay and HIV positive lead pop singer of Erasure, says the UK needs to up its game on sex education in schools
No thumbnail available

Traveling the world in search of queer artist activists

Gay Star News talks to Miyuki Baker about her world travels in search of queer artists and activists
No thumbnail available

Lynx breaks new ground to feature gay kiss in new ad

Company have finally realised gay and bisexual men ocassionally use Lynx/Axe products
No thumbnail available

Grindr gets brand new look for summer

New update features ultra-big profile pics and allows you to see how long it will take to travel to meet your new guy
No thumbnail available

Drag queen 'heath whore' faces charity roasting

London's Royal Vauxhall Tavern and QX magazine team up to 'roast' drag star Sandra in a hilarious night to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust
No thumbnail available

San Marino axes medieval law to let gay couples live together

The small country of San Marino is now giving visa access rights to gay couples, canceling an law dating back to the 16th century
No thumbnail available

Stan Lee explains why he never created a gay superhero

The man behind Spiderman, Iron Man and the Hulk says it 'never occured' to him
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Gay ally Vanessa Hudgens says it's 'not right' for people to be closed minded

'I think it's important for us to stand up for people and to have each other's back'
No thumbnail available

Martina Navratilova joins Dancing With the Stars

Champion will try and dominate on dance floor as she did on tennis court