How The Government affects LGBT in Hong Kong

Government's prominent homopobia before 1996

Male homosexuality had been criminalized in Hong Kong before 1991. In 1991, the Crimes Bill was passed and decriminalized male homosexuality which seemed to be a progress. However, male homosexuality under the age of 21 were still prohibited (Chan 2005, 71).

In 1996, the Legislative Council attempts to examine the possibilities to include discrimination against different sexual orientation as illegal acts. However, the process was slow, and the government tried to lay the sole responsibility on education rather than the government and legislation for ensuring equality to LGBT (IGLHRC 1996).
Besides, lesbians were still left behind and was not mentioned.

Slow progress in preventing domestic violence of same-sex couples since 2000's

Slow progress was made in 2006, under the rule of Donald Tsang who is a Catholic, that the age limit was lowered to 16 for male consensual and also heterosexual sex, while lesbian were still left behind without mentioning it (Ewing 2011). In 2009, Amendment of including same-sex cohabiting couples in the domestic violence legislation was passed. From 1st January 2010 onwards, 'Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Violence Ordinance' is available for same-sex cohabiting couples to seek legal protection if they suffer from domestic violence.
However, it does not mean that same-sex cohabiting couples are legally recognized. The legislation could be amended only under the circumstances that lawmakers agreed to name the ordinance as 'Domestic and Cohabitation Relationship Violence Ordinance' but not 'Domestic Violence Ordinance' so as to make sure that the government was not intended to admit same-sex marriage (IGLHRC 2009).

What is left behind?

[Wiki] homo.png
The most controversial weakness of legislation is the lack of anti-discrimination legislation for sexual orientation. This can explain
why recently, Ray Chan, is trying to pass the bill of this legislation, and there was a demonstration held on 10th November 2012 (Yiu, 2012).

That's why recently Mr. Chan is seeking support to pass the bill for this legislation

Click here: First gay Hong Kong lawmaker seeks same-sex marriage (access directly on youtube is required)

(Source of the cartoon: grin916 n.d., CartoonStock.com)

HK_video.jpg


Some reasons of the government and people opposed to homosexuality to postpone the progress

  • In 1990's, the government pointed out anti-discrimination legislation for homosexuality might deprive other groups, sepcifically heterosexuals, of their rights (IGLHRC 1996, Chan 2005: 77).
  • The government also makes use of religion to pospone the process of passing this kind of law. The lawmakers and the government sometimes agree that topics related to values and moral justification, like homosexuality which is viewed as immoral by religion, had better not to be involved in the legislation (Chan 2005: 71).
  • The promotion of same-sex relationship is claimed and not supported by lawmakers, mainly those from the religious groups (IGLHRC 2009).


Rebuttal from LGBT - An interview with lesbians, Lig and Connie







Government's violation of equality

In the interview, Lig wonders why anti-sexual discrimination laws only protect heterosexuals but homosexauls are excluded. The most important point she raises is 'This legislation is to help protect people of all different sexual orientation from discrimination'. This idea of equality is consistent with the definition of development. However, under the current Hong Kong anti-discriminaton legisltion, if homosexuals encoutered any discrimination, there is no guaranteed protection from the legislation. This action tends to label homosexuals as an unusal sexual minority and put heterosexuals but homosexauls on an unequal foot.


Is legislation related to equality?

Some may argue that legislation for LGBT is not so important as others urge, because withou registration and the legal permission, they can still love and stay with their partner after homosexuality is discriminalized. However, Lig points out the lack of some other rights under the current LGBT legislation, like being burried together which requires a marriage certification.




[16 Novmeber, 2012].