By Dr. Karen Lee
Three controversial bills which would allow gay citizens to marry and adopt are going through Taiwan’s legislative process will, if passed, make it the first Asian – and Chinese – society to legalise same-sex marriage.
Has the time come for Hong Kong to face this issue?
First recognised in the Netherlands in 2001 and now legal in more than 20 countries, same-sex marriage attracted local attention in 2012 after the coming-out of a newly elected legislator and two pop singers who went on to form an organisation that promotes LGBT rights. That coincided with the Equal Opportunities Commission’s call in November for a public consultation on enacting a sexual orientation anti-discrimination law. The move prompted some faith-based groups to voice their concerns, which culminated in a 50,000-strong rally outside government headquarters in January 2013.
same-sex marriage attracted local attention in 2012 after the coming-out of a newly elected legislator and two pop singers who went on to form an organisation that promotes LGBT rights.
In the 2013 case of W v Registrar of Marriages, the Court of Final Appeal allowed a post-operative transsexual woman to marry in her newly acquired sex. Despite the narrowly worded judgment, the fact that it unlinked marriage from procreation and allowed a “biological” male to marry another male raised concerns over its implications for the institution of marriage. In June 2014, the British Consulate asked the government to allow it to solemnise same-sex marriages – legal in the UK – for British nationals in Hong Kong, a service that it already provided in a number of countries including China, Russia, and Azerbaijan, but to no avail.