Once again, a Hong Kong court has refused to legalise equal marriage in a blow to LGBT campaigners

Hong Kong court refuses to bring in equal marriage – again

A Hong Kong court has thrown out mixed messages for the protection of LGBT+ rights, with two verdicts that constitute one win and one loss for LGBT+ campaigners.

The High Court has ruled in favour of a gay homeowner, but has also once again refused to recognise same-sex marriages.

Edgar Ng, a gay homeowner who applied for judicial review in 2019, was granted the right to equal home ownership with his husband.

Ng launched the legal bid when he found out his husband, Henry Li Yik-ho, would be unable to inherit their home as the marriage wasn’t legally recognised in Hong Kong.

In the second verdict the High Court published on Friday (September 18), the judge once again refused to recognise equal marriage or same-sex civil unions, which are not currently legal in Hong Kong.

In the case of Jimmy Sham, a civil rights activist who had filed a lawsuit for the city to recognise foreign same-sex marriages, the court ruled against.

Sham had argued that Hong Kong’s failure to recognise same-sex marriages like his – he married his partner in New York – was a violation of Article 25 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, but Justice Anderson Chow rejected this argument.

Although marriage equality doesn’t seem to be in the near future for Hong Kong, there was one small step forward this year. In April, a a judicial review ruled that Hong Kong’s ban on same-sex couples accessing public housing was unlawful – a win for LGBT+ rights that was dubbed a “triumph“.

In May, Hong Kong LGBT+ activists urged the incoming chief justice to work with them on marriage equality, despite his history of denying queer rights.

Andrew Cheung Kui-nung will become the new chief justice of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal (the special administrative region’s highest court) in January provided his appointment is approved by the legislative council.

LGBT+ rights groups have urged him to work for equality, primarily by supporting equal marriage.