Above: A gay couple’s private 2018 wedding ceremony in Hong Kong, where same-sex marriages remain unrecognized.
Government officials in Hong Kong have ruled against permitting or recognizing same-sex marriages in the city, marking a major setback in the push for equal rights for LGBTQ Asians.
On Friday, the city’s Court of First Instance voted in favor of upholding a previous ruling that barred marriage equality, The New York Times reports. The ruling comes a few months after the Taiwanese government became the first in Asia to allow same-sex marriages, inspiring hope among queer couples vying to tie the knot in other cities and countries in the region.
AARON TAM/AFP/Getty Images
LGBTQ revelers attend Hong Kong’s 2017 Pride parade.
In his ruling, Hong Kong Judge Anderson Chow wrote that legalizing marriage equality citywide would have “far-reaching consequences” the government was not equipped to handle, and that it is “beyond the proper scope of the functions or powers of the court, in the name of interpretation, to seek to effect a change of social policy on such a fundamental issue,” according to The Times.
In response to the ruling, local advocacy group Hong Kong Marriage Equality issued a statement expressing its disappointment on Twitter.
“It is simply wrong to see same-sex families facing hardships because of discrimination and unequal treatment in law,” NGO Hong Kong Marriage Equality said in response to the ruling. https://t.co/6e10pMNiyy pic.twitter.com/pxto5K4svq
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) October 18, 2019
As NewNowNext previously reported, Taiwan’s first legal same-sex marriage was held on Friday, May 24, a week after lawmakers voted to legalize marriage equality across the island state.
Lawmakers in the Philippines also shot down marriage equality in a recent court case. Still, the fight to see queer relationships recognized in Asia wages on.