Hong Kong’s top court tells government to create ‘legal recognition’ for same-sex partnerships (labcalindia)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s top court has ordered the city’s government to set up a new framework to legally recognize the rights of same-sex couples in a partial victory for LGBTQ activists that stopped short of their demands for full marriage equality.

Five judges from Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal handed down their decision on Tuesday, following years of legal battles filed by several gay and lesbian activists to challenge the government’s refusal to let them get married or form a civil union partnership.

Hong Kong does not allow or grant same-sex marriage or unions, even though homosexuality has been decriminalized in the city since 1991.

Activists had been hoping the court would declare that the denial of same-sex marriage breached equal rights protections in the city’s mini-constitution.

Judges ruled the freedom to marry was guaranteed under the mini-constitution but that it only referred “to heterosexual marriage.”

Instead they called on the government to create an “alternative framework” for same-sex couples.

“We have accepted the existence of the need experienced by same-sex couples for access to an alternative framework conferring legal recognition on their relationship in order to meet basic social requirements and 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,” the judges ruled.

The court told the government it has two years to comply with its ruling.

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