Landmark decision: Hong Kong court rules that transsexual woman can marry

After a five year battle, 'W' has won right to marry her boyfriend, lawyer calls judgment a 'resounding victory'

Landmark decision: Hong Kong court rules that transsexual woman can marry
13 May 2013

In a landmark decision, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has ruled that a transsexual woman can marry her boyfriend.

A Hong-Kong-born transsexual woman in her mid-30s, known only as ‘W’ in court, has won a five year battle to win the right to marry the man she loves.

Michael Vidler, a partner of the legal firm representing the case, called the judgment a ‘resounding victory’ and said he was ‘relieved’ and ‘happy’ with the judgement.

Out of the five judges on the bench, four accepted the team’s arguments.

‘The court took both of our arguments,’ Vidler told Gay Star News. ‘That marriage ordinance should be read to include transgender women and also our human rights point was taken, in that it was a breach of her constitutional rights [to marry]. We won on both grounds, which was nice.’

The decision gives hope that other transgender people, both male-to-female and female-to-male, will be able to marry people of the opposite gender. Although it is only likely to affect post-operative transsexuals.

It is likely that, following the judges’ recommendations, the government will amend the marriage law to clarify the position for transsexuals.

The team’s argument, presented by Lord Pannick QC in the court of appeal last month, was that as the Hong Kong government recognizes W as a woman on her ID card they should accept she is a woman for marriage law as well.

‘For instance, if she was going to be going to prison she would be recognized as a woman,’ said Vidler, arguing that the government recognizes her as a woman for certain purposes so they should for this as well.

Vidler & Co Solicitors specialize in civil rights cases in Hong Kong and have fought a number of LGBT rights cases.

Vidler is currently looking for a gay couple to fight the Hong Kong immigration department’s discrimination towards them when issuing dependent visas.

Civil partners or same-sex marriages from abroad do not get the same rights to a dependent visa as heterosexual couples. ‘It’s a markedly discriminatory practice,’ said Vidler.  

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Equality opponents say legalizing gay rights would lead Trinidad and Tobago to disaster

LGBT rights were highly contested during a public consultation on Trinidad and Tobago's future constitution
No thumbnail available

Leading Hungarian LGBTI activist Milan Rozsa has died aged just 26

Milan Rozsa, who made headlines in February when he climbed into the grounds of the Russian embassy in Budapest to protest Russia’s treatment of LGBTIs, has died after stepping in front of a train in an apparent suicide
No thumbnail available

Transgender contestant Kylan Wenzel vies for Miss California crown this weekend

'You have to put it out to the universe - what you want to do'
No thumbnail available

French president Hollande tells UN to make gay sex legal globally

During a speech at the United Nations, François Holland, president of France, called for a global decriminalization of homosexuality
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Gay principal fired over test scores calls dismissal 'capricious and arbitrary'

Praised by city officials and students when he came out in June, the gay principal's contract will not be renewed next school year
No thumbnail available

Open letter to Malaysian PM calls for end of anti-gay agenda

A psychology graduate and columnist for an independent Malaysian news website has called on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to reverse his government’s anti-gay agenda in an open letter
No thumbnail available

My Husband's Not Gay: TLC special follows married Mormons who are attracted to men

'I'm attracted to my wife, for sure. And I'm definitely attracted to men too'
Two thugs break lesbian activist's nose in Russia for holding gay rights protest

Two thugs break lesbian activist's nose in Russia for holding gay rights protest

She is known for holding posters that say: 'Homosexuality is normal'
No thumbnail available

European Parliament fights to outlaw anti-gay crime, speech

A survey of LGBT lives in the European Union will be revealed on the International Day Against Homophobia