by Lana Lam
It’s all about love, no matter what your sexual orientation – that’s what the gay and lesbian founders of new group Double Happiness say motivated them to lobby the government for recognition of their nuptials that were carried out overseas.
As the global debate continues on same-sex marriages, civil partnerships and the way countries recognise each other’s marital laws, the group holds its launch party today in Central.
“It’s a good time to get the momentum going,” said Hongkonger and Canadian passport holder, Guy Ho, 52.
Ho, an IT consultant, married his partner Henry Lam, 36, in 2011 in Canada and both are calling on the government to recognise their marriage.
The couple have joined forces with another same-sex couple, French expatriate Betty Grisoni, 43, and Singaporean Abby Lee, 41, to form the group, which they say is the first solely dedicated to advocating the recognition of overseas nuptials in Hong Kong.
The city does not allow same-sex marriages and also does not recognise same-sex marriages carried out in other countries such as Canada.
Grisoni said she knew of same-sex couples who had decided not to move to Hong Kong for work because their spouse would not be recognised as their legal partner.
She met Lee 15 years ago in Singapore and they had a commitment ceremony in Sydney in 2002. The couple would like to be able to marry at the French consulate in Hong Kong after France legalised same-sex marriages last May.
“It’s not about wanting something special or extra. It is about love and commitment and we just want what everyone else has,” Grisoni said.
Ho believes mainstream Hong Kong society is ready to accept same-sex marriages and that it also extends to other basic civil rights.
“We are not second-class citizens,” he said, pointing out that same-sex couples who have married overseas cannot access insurance coverage for their spouse. Another example related to hospital visits, as same-sex partners can be denied access during visiting hours because they are not deemed to be family.