Hong Kong: Judge in LGBT civil union legal challenge rejects bid by Hong Kong Catholic diocese and conservative groups to join litigation

A Hong Kong judge tasked with ruling on whether to allow civil union partnerships for LGBT couples ruled on Tuesday he did not require churches and other conservative bodies to help him define marriage.

Lawyers for the Catholic diocese of Hong Kong – the city’s the largest church – asked the High Court for permission to join the litigation as an interested party, arguing it would provide a more rounded picture of Christian marriage than the secular government.

It also raised concerns the outcome might lead to “reverse discrimination” and have a chilling effect on churches. It was joined by religious pressure groups the Family School Concern Group and the Society for Truth and Light, which said any ruling could have future implications for sex education.

They were countered by more liberal churches and religious bodies. A transgender activist also petitioned the court, saying the ruling would have implications for her civil rights.

After hearing their assertions, Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming refused to let the groups join the litigation, saying their argument, which was not based on law but social views, would not be pertinent. “It needs to be emphasised the court cannot arbitrate on social, moral, religious or theological issues, and does not decide cases based on such a consideration,” he wrote. Read more via South China Morning Post