Hong Kong lawmakers rejected a motion calling for a public consultation on equal rights for people of all sexual orientations yesterday.
The motion was proposed by pro-human-rights legislator Cyd Ho.
Only 33 of the 70 members of the legislative council were present for the debate, nine voted for a public consultation into equal rights for people with different sexual orientations, 16 voted against it and eight abstained.
During the debate on Wednesday (7 November) Hong Kong’s first openly gay lawmaker, Ray Chan Chi-chuen, appealed to his colleagues to pass the motion.
‘This is only a lowly and mild plea to open communication in society through public consultation,’ Chan said, as reported by South China Morning Post. ‘We are not even asking for legislation of controversial areas at the moment.’
Legislators against the motion said a law might trigger reverse discrimination.
The secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, admitted Hong Kong should protect citizens against discrimination, but he said the timing was wrong:
‘While we need to address [discrimination], it’s important to see whether it is the right time for these discussions.’
Hong Kong gay rights group the Pink Alliance said they were disappointed by the defeat of the motion. They described opposing legislators as ‘in the Stone Ages and oblivious to world trends’ and said the reverse discrimination argument was ‘rubbish logic and scaremongering’.
‘Pink Alliance will unite other LGBT organisations in Hong Kong and exhaust all avenues, public or lobbying to convince more legislators to join our cause in the remaining 5 years legislative term,’ said chair Reggie Ho.
Hong-Kong-based gay rights activist and author Anshuman Das gave out a cry to arms to the LGBT community:
‘We will not hide anymore. We will stand in front of you and demand equality rights. This is the beginning of the end of discrimination against Hong Kong’s LGBT citizens. We will march in your face. Dare to stop us if you can.
‘We urge all members of the community, all kind-hearted supporters of basic human rights, to please join us at the Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon!’
Hong Kong Pride parade is this Saturday (10 November), starting at 3pm at Causeway Bay.