Posts tagged ‘Gay Rights’

March 2nd, 2014

Group wants gay marriages overseas to be recognised in Hong Kong

by Anthony

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.


  • dde280cda3e5c9f75d42868a9646f1b1.jpg
Henry Lam and Guy Ho (left) are lobbying the government for their marriage in Canada to be recognised in Hong Kong, while Betty Grisoni and Abby Lee would like the right to be able to marry at the Hong Kong consulate of Grisoni’s native France. Photo: Dickson Lee
January 11th, 2014

Court of Appeal upholds gay activist’s right to dance at 2011 rally

by Anthony

The Court of Appeal has upheld a gay activist’s right to dance during a 2011 rally by rejecting a police appeal.

The judgement, handed down on Wednesday, agreed with a ruling in July last year in favour of the gay activist, identified in court only as T.

The activist’s lawyer says the latest victory would prevent the police from misusing their power in stopping people from demonstrating, particularly under the Occupy Central movement.

T won the appeal after losing a judicial challenge to the police’s decision to bar him and more than 100 participants from dancing during a 2011 demonstration for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Police said the organisers did not obtain a licence for the dance performance under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance, despite having granted permission to the demonstration.

The Court of Appeal said the dance performance did not merit the use of the ordinance as one is required to obtain a licence only if one has control over audience admission.

T’s lawyer, human rights lawyer Michael Vidler, told the South China Morning Post that they agreed with the Court of Appeal’s decision and that their victory was not only relevant to the LGBT community but to all Hong Kong citizens seeking the right to demonstrate.

“The reason why the police had fought to do this is because they had been trying to use a piece of subsidiary legislation to extend their powers to control demonstrations,” said Vidler. “This is an important case that has wider implications for all demonstrations, especially in the lead-up to Occupy Central.”

Occupy Central, which began as a movement against corporate greed and formed during the rise of Arab Spring-inspired Occupy protests around the world, said it would hold a referendum for universal suffrage in June, ahead of its plan to have 10,000 activists blockading the streets of the city’s main business district.

After Wednesday’s ruling, the commissioner of police still has the option to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal.

Vidler said his client would fight it should the police choose to do so, which he said would be “a waste of public funding”.

The rally in question was held on May 15, 2011, to mark the 7th International Day Against Homophobia. Lam Woon-kwong, then chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan and about 100 others attended the rally.

January 3rd, 2014

Research Shows a Majority of People in Hong Kong Support Gay and Lesbian Couples’ Rights 調查顯示香港大多數市民支持同性伴侶權利

by Anthony

A new report issued by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law shows that a majority of the Hong Kong public supports granting rights to same-sex couples. Only 27% of the public completely agreed that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, and 12% somewhat agreed. However, 74% of the public supported granting same-sex couples either all or some of the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. For example, 65% of the public favoured allowing same-sex couples to visit each other in the hospital during hours restricted to family members (20% were neutral); 61% agreed that same-sex couples should be protected from housing discrimination (17% were neutral); 66% favoured permitting gays and lesbians to sue for the wrongful death of their same-sex partners in cases of fatal accidents (18% were neutral); and 55% agreed that same-sex partners should inherit property from each other (23% were neutral).
This study of public opinion was led by Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Holning Lau from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and Charles Lau from RTI International. They designed the study and commissioned the Social Sciences Research Centre (SSRC) at the University of Hong Kong to conduct a telephone survey of a random sample of 410 Hong Kong residents.
Holning Lau notes that “in other parts of the world, governments have conferred rights upon gay and lesbian couples without legalising same-sex marriage. Our findings suggest that there is public support for exploring such policy options in Hong Kong”.
Kelley Loper observes: “in Hong Kong, the government presently provides virtually no legal recognition to same-sex couples. Although the development of human rights protections should not be contingent on public opinion, our survey results indicate that there is ample public support for extending rights to committed same-sex couples, short of legalizing same-sex marriage”.
The English version of the report is available at:

此次民意研究是由香港大學法律學院的羅愷麗(Kelley Loper)、北卡羅萊納大學法律學院的劉浩寧(Holning Lau)和 RTI International 的劉賽司(Charles Lau)共同負責並設計的。他們委託了香港大學社會科學研究中心,以電話調查的方式訪問了隨機抽出的410名香港居民。
羅愷麗則表示:「現時,香港政府基本上沒有給予同性伴侶任何法律上的承認。 雖然人權保護不應與民意掛勾,但我們此次的調查結果顯示香港亦有很強的民意基礎,支持實行婚姻以外的同性伴侶權。」

October 2nd, 2013

RIGHTS TALK: LGBT Rights in International and Comparative Law

by Anthony

Centre for Comparative and Public Law

Faculty of Law
The University of Hong Kong


LGBT Rights in International and Comparative Law

Laurence R. Helfer
Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law
Duke University

Thursday, 17 October 2013
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Room A723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower
The University of Hong Kong

Laurence R. Helfer, BA (Yale) 1987, JD (NYU Law) 1992, MPA (Princeton) 1992, is the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at Duke University Law School. Professor Helfer has coauthored two books and more than sixty scholarly articles on his diverse research interests, which include international human rights, international intellectual property law, international adjudication, and the interdisciplinary analysis of international laws and institutions. He serves on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of World Intellectual Property. His advocacy work on international LGBT rights includes participating on the first expert panel at the U.N. Human Rights Council on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; and serving as the inaugural Jacob L. Martin Fellow to the Office of the Legal Adviser of U.S. Department of State to consult with attorneys and policymakers on strategies for promoting LGBT rights globally.

Professor Helfer will discuss the promotion of LGBT human rights in international institutions and in countries across the globe. His talk will review recent advances and setbacks and assess the opportunities and challenges facing advocates for LGBT equality.

Please email Flora Leung at [email protected] to reserve a place.

May 20th, 2013

Gay rights activist arrested after protest in Changsha

by Anthony


by Patrick Boehler

Police in Changsha have detained a young gay rights activist after he organised a protest in the capital of Hunan province to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

A 19-year-old man, identified only as Xiang, was arrested on Saturday and will be in administrative detention for 12 days for organising an “illegal protest”, police said, according to a report in the local Xiaoxiang Morning News, which has since been deleted online.

Xiang has been transferred to the Changsha Municipal Detention Centre, said A Qiang, a fellow demonstrator and well-known activist from Guangzhou.

Xiang has been active in the local LGBT community since age 14. A Qiang said Xiang had approached police about the protest before it took place on Friday afternoon.

The protest called for an end to homophobia and discrimination. It was second time Changsha’s LGBT community has organised such a protest. Police had not interfered in last year’s demonstration. Some 80 to 100 people participated this year.

“They said if we don’t see you, we don’t have to handle it,” A Qiang said. “We knew we couldn’t apply for permission to demonstrate, so we decided to call it a marketing event for Hunan With Love”,  a commercial community website.

“Companies do that all the time,” he said. “The police seemed to be OK with it.”

A Qiang said police did not interfere with the protest, except towards the end, when police approached the protesters, telling them not to shout slogans and impede traffic.

By 2.45am on Saturday, Xiang and three other people were taken away by police from a hotel room they were staying in. All except Xiang were released by the afternoon.

A Qiang said the protest was one of at least 10 across China on Friday. Demonstrations took place in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengsu, and also in second-tier cities such as Nanchang.

He said he did not recall anyone else ever having been but briefly detained for organising such protests.

Activists in Guangzhou told the South China Morning Post on Saturday that they had been detained and questioned by police for distributing fliers on Friday.

On Monday, searches for “protest” and “Changsha” were blocked on Sina Weibo, the country’s largest microblogging platform.