Hong Kong’s high court on Friday gave a verdict on same-sex couples, stating that they should receive equal treatment under inheritance law, a step forward for LGBT rights in the finance hub.
On the same day, a separate legal bid for full recognition of foreign same-sex marriages was bashed down, emphasizing what campaigners say is a lack of progress on equality issues.
As per the law in Hong Kong, same-sex marriage are not permitted and it does not recognise foreign unions. Although, limited recognition has been granted in recent years in several landmark rulings.
Last year, a gay citizen of Hong-Kong, Edgar Ng launched a legal challenge against the city’s inheritance and intestacy laws, claiming discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2018 he bought a government-subsidised flat which happend after him marrying his partner in London, according to court documents.
Hong Kong’s housing policy refrains his husband to be recognised as the joint homeowner, and Ng was concerned that if he die without a will, his property would not be passed to his partner.
In the judgement made on Friday, Judge Anderson Chow stated that the exclusion of spouses in same-sex marriages from their legal prerogatives “constitutes unlawful discrimination”.The judge further added, “differential treatment is not justified”.
LGBT rights activists with campaign group Hong Kong Marriage Equality described the ruling as an “important victory”.
“The government should grab this opportunity to work with the LGBT+ community to implement marriage equality in the city,” the association said.
However, all the excitement about the legal win was interfered by a separate ruling on Friday, that rejected an application for a judicial review into Hong Kong’s law on recognising overseas gay marriage.
In 2018, Hong Kong had announced that overseas same-sex partners would qualify for the right to live and work in the city but other rights are still denied to same-sex couples.