Hong Kong government under fire in LGBT row

 LGBT rights campaigners have hit out at Hong Kong's government after it announced it would appeal a landmark decision granting a British lesbian the right to live and work in Hong Kong with her partner.

The ruling by the Court of Appeal in September sparked hopes that hurdles for same-sex couples might be reduced in the socially conservative southern Chinese city.

But the immigration department has announced it will seek to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong's highest court.

"Having studied the Court of Appeal's judgment and sought legal advice, the immigration department has filed an application for leave to appeal against the judgment," the department said in a statement emailed to AFP on Thursday (Nov 2).

The September decision granted the woman, referred to in court only as QT, the right to a dependant visa which she had been denied by immigration authorities, meaning she could only remain in the city on a visitor visa which did not allow her to work.

The judgement ruled that the authorities had "failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers".

Campaigners described it as a crucial step for Hong Kong, which they say lags on LGBT rights. The city does not recognise gay marriage and only decriminalised homosexuality in 1991.

Openly gay lawmaker Ray Chan said if the immigration department won its case, it would "not benefit anybody".

He also criticised the government for failing to openly support Hong Kong's successful bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, announced Tuesday, the first time the event will come to Asia.

"The government would rather spend taxpayers' money to appeal a case which in my view does not contribute to society or benefit anybody if won, than to support a major international sports, culture, and tourism event such as the Gay Games," Chan told AFP. Read more via CNA