Soldiering on for Equal Love in Hong Kong

By June 20, 2024 Regional

Contributor: Jerome Yau
Hong Kong Marriage Equality

2023 was a monumental year for the journey to marriage equality in Hong Kong. A total of five court decisions were handed down, and they were all in favour of same-sex couples. 

Of all, the most seminal one is the judgement handed down by the Court of Final Appeal on 5 September 2023. The court by a 3:2 majority held that the government has to come up with a framework for the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships by October 2025.

While the top court stopped short of granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples, the judgement was nevertheless a major victory for the LGBT+ community as it affirmed that same-sex couples deserve to live a dignified life.

The decision has given the marriage equality movement a major boost – there are more talks about the issue in society, and there is a sense that something positive would happen in the near future. 

Yet, the journey ahead will not be easy. The court has given the government a wide latitude in terms of creating a legal framework for the purpose of recognizing same-sex partnerships. On the other hand, naysayers have ratcheted up rhetoric against marriage equality.

At Hong Kong Marriage Equality, we have stepped up our effort to educate the public and different stakeholders on the importance of implementing a comprehensive system and why same-sex marriage is good for society.

I take comfort in knowing that a solid majority in society supports same-sex marriage. According to the latest survey, 60% of the population support same-sex marriage, a record high! In addition, I have seen more guys holding hands on streets, and the fact that those instances didn’t raise eyebrows signified a good level of acceptance of same-sex couples in society.

At the time of writing, Thailand is slated to become the first country in Southeast Asia legalizing same-sex marriage. The country demonstrates that liberal and conservative values can co-exist. Afterall, marriage equality is about dignity and respect, and these two values not only transcend ideologies but also cultures. 

The Thai experience serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that progress takes time and is not achieved in isolation. The most important thing is to keep the faith and refrain from name-calling when dealing with adversaries. As said by Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high”. This is essential if we are going to win hearts and minds for marriage equality.

About the contributor:

Jerome Yau is Chief Executive of AIDS Concern and Co-founder of Hong Kong Marriage Equality. He has years of experience in executive and non-executive roles in the voluntary, non-profit and education sectors, focusing on communication, strategic engagement, policy research and public affairs. Jerome is passionate about advancing social justice and promoting LGBT+ wellbeing and inclusion. He is a strong advocate for mobilizing for change through positive narratives.

Jerome has a strong background of working with different stakeholders, including policymakers, community activists, diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners, and healthcare providers. He is committed to enhancing people’s welfare and wellbeing through evidence-based practices.

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