Today marks a substantial victory in the battle for LGBT+ inclusion in Hong Kong. This morning, the Court of Final Appeal ruled in favour of QT and her partner SS, a lesbian expat couple who have been fighting for equal spousal visa rights in Hong Kong. This watershed decision will have a significant impact on the advancement of LGBT+ rights in Hong Kong across all levels of society: on a personal level, it opens the door to LGBT+ individuals, same sex couples and rainbow families enjoying equal rights to live and work in Hong Kong; on a business level, it enables companies to attract and retain the best global talent, regardless of their sexual orientation; on an economic level, if Hong Kong is to live up to its title as 'Asia's World City,' it must become an open and inclusive financial hub that values diversity of all kinds; and on a societal level, the media attention will help to raise public awareness for equality and help to ensure that Hong Kong becomes a truly inclusive city that embodies fairness and acceptance.
In May, we shared our thoughts on the wider battle for LGBT+ inclusion in Hong Kong, commenting on the QT case, as well as the Angus Leung case and gender recognition public consultation that have gained international media attention over the last year. The gains and setbacks that have been seen in the weeks since we published our thoughts are wide. We see now more than ever a need to keep the public eye on LGBT+ equality in Hong Kong and ensure that these battles for human rights do not lose momentum in the coming months. Hong Kong is walking a tightrope between inclusion and discrimination, and the road ahead for true LGBT+ equality is long. We only need to look to our neighbours in Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Australia, to see that change is indeed happening, and Hong Kong risks falling further behind in the fight for LGBT+ rights. We urge the Hong Kong SAR Government to introduce comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that prevent discrimination on all grounds, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status, and commit to establishing a legacy of inclusion and equality. QT's victory today shines a hopeful light on the possibility of real change in Hong Kong. Let's ensure that our voices remain loud, proud and heard! #Time4ChangeHK
Update: On 18 September 2018 the Hong Kong SAR Government issued a press release detailing revisions to the immigration policy to extend dependant visa benefits to persons in 'a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, "same-sex marriage", opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong with an eligible sponsor in accordance with the local law in force of the place of celebration and with such status being legally and officially recognised by the local authorities of the place of celebration'.
At Community Business we warmly welcome this positive move. In extending the policy to include local Hong Kong residents as well as heterosexual couples in civil partnerships or civil unions overseas, the Government has recognised different forms of both heterosexual and same sex legal relationships, not just marriage, from other countries.