A new report published by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law has shown that a majority of the Hong Kong public supports granting some legal recognition to same-sex couples.
Researchers Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Holning Lau from the University of North Carolina School of Law and Charles Lau from RTI International found that 74% of Hong Kongers thought same-sex couples should have some of the rights of opposite sex couples.
65% of those surveyed supported people in same-sex couples having the same hospital visitation rights as family members when their partner is ill.
61% agreed that same-sex couples should be protected from housing discrimination, 66% though gays and lesbians should be able to sue for the wrongful death of their same-sex partners in cases of fatal accidents and 55% agreed that same-sex partners should inherit property from each other.
However only 27% of the public completely agreed that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, with another 12% somewhat agreeing.
On the other side of things only 26% thought same-sex couples should have none of the same rights as opposite-sex couples.
Researcher Holning Lau said that the results suggested that Hong Kongers would not object to the government of the Chinese special administrative region taking steps to ensure same-sex couples’ rights.
‘In other parts of the world, governments have conferred rights upon gay and lesbian couples without legalising same-sex marriage,’ Lau said.
‘Our findings suggest that there is public support for exploring such policy options in Hong Kong.’
Researcher Kelley Loper agreed.
‘In Hong Kong, the government presently provides virtually no legal recognition to same-sex couples,’ Loper said.
‘Although the development of human rights protections should not be contingent on public opinion, our survey results indicate that there is ample public support for extending rights to committed same-sex couples, short of legalizing same-sex marriage.’
Hong Kong currently has no laws protecting LGBTI people from discrimination or hate crimes although police can arrest someone for harassing or intimidating someone who is LGBTI under the territory’s anti-intimidation ordinance.