Today marks a victorious end to a long-drawn-out battle for same-sex rights in Hong Kong. In a landmark decision, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has ruled in favour of Angus Leung - a Hong Kong civil servant - and his husband Scott, who have spent the last five years fighting for the Government to grant them equal spousal benefits and joint tax assessment, the same rights that heterosexual couples are afforded.
This case was remarkable in that it was brought by a local Hong Konger, demonstrating that LGBT+ rights are indeed a local issue, not only affecting expatriates or Westerners. Also, the Hong Kong SAR Government’s refusal to grant equal rights to its own employees flies in the face of its own Code of Practice Against Discrimination in Employment on the Ground of Sexual Orientation in which it urges companies to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
This decision, combined with the QT victory of 2018, inches Hong Kong closer to equality for the LGBT+ community, however, in the wake of recent victories for same-sex couples in Taiwan, highlights the long road ahead. For a start, Hong Kong still does not have anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBT+ community. Until the Hong Kong SAR Government addresses gaps like this and institutes marriage policy that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, Hong Kong will remain an unequal society. We urge the Government to urgently rectify this and take steps to ensure all citizens are treated equally and granted the same dignity, protections, rights, and opportunities. #Time4ChangeHK