Hong Kong’s appeal court on Friday overturned a landmark judgment requiring the government to grant the same spousal benefits to employees in same-sex marriages as those enjoyed by their heterosexual colleagues.
In a blow to the city’s LGBT community, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government – as not just a private employer but “a custodian of Hong Kong’s prevailing socio-moral values” – had a legitimate aim to protect the institution of traditional marriage.
“By granting same-sex married couples ... access to spousal benefits, which are unique to marriage, the very status of marriage would diminish significantly in the eyes of the public,” one of the judges, Appeal Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor, said in a written ruling, noting that people might think the government was recognising gay marriage via the “back door”.
The three presiding appeal judges also cited the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, as a source of constitutional backing for the protection of traditional marriage.
“The extension in the present case of the benefits and privilege under challenge would lead, almost inevitably, to similar extensions in other areas concerning, for instance, public housing, social welfare, public medical benefits, employment benefits and protection, pensions and life insurance,” Chief Judge Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung said. Read more via South China Morning Post