Hong Kong’s top court urges alternative legal framework for same-sex couples

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09/05/2023

HONG KONG, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s top court partially approved on Tuesday a landmark appeal by an LGBTQ activist for recognition of same-sex marriages, calling for new regulations for gay couples to protect their basic social needs. The ruling by Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal followed a five-year legal battle fought by jailed democracy and LGBTQ rights activist Jimmy Sham. It was the first time that the court directly addressed the issue of same-sex marriage in the Asian financial hub. The judges dismissed Sham’s appeal that he had a constitutional right to a same sex marriage in Hong Kong but effectively gave the government two years to ensure that rights, such as access to hospitals and inheritance, could be protected for same-sex couples. Chief Justice Andrew Cheung, Permanent Judges Roberto Ribeiro, Joseph Fok, Johnson Lam, and Non-Permanent Judge Patrick Keane ruled that marriage freedoms outlined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, were confined to opposite sex marriage.

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