Hong Kong court rules in favour of same-gender relationships but marriage rights remain elusive
PTC News Desk: In a partial triumph for LGBTQ activists, Hong Kong's top court ruled on Tuesday in favour of same-sex couples seeking 'legal recognition' from the government, CNN reported.
However, the court did not extend the rights to full marital equality, as activists had asked.
The activists had hoped that the court would rule that the city's mini-constitution's prohibition on same-sex marriage violated equal rights protections.
Following years of legal fights challenging the government's refusal to allow homosexual people to marry or form a civil union partnership, five justices from Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal issued their verdict on Tuesday, CNN reported.
Notably, despite the fact that homosexuality has been decriminalized in the city since 1991, Hong Kong does not legalize or grant marriages or unions.
Judges found that while the mini-constitution guaranteed the right to marry, it only applied to "heterosexual marriage."
According to CNN, the judges ruled in a majority verdict that there was a need for “an alternative framework” granting legal recognition to same-sex couples “to provide them with a sense of legitimacy, dispelling any sense that they belong to an inferior class of persons whose relationship is undeserving of recognition."
According to the court, the government has two years to comply with the order.
Notably, activists in Hong Kong have primarily used the courts to bring about change during the last decade, with both the government and legislature believed as slow to catch up with other more liberal jurisdictions.
Furthermore, Hong Kong's judges have frequently sided with the activists, previously ruling against government lawyers and noting that the city's mini-constitution provides same-sex couples with certain safeguards and equality that they had previously been denied.
- With inputs from agencies