Court's decision has implications for SAR

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 August, 2002, 12:00am
 

A ruling by a three-judge panel at Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto, Canada, on July 12, declared that any restrictions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional and that the Province of Ontario and federal government legislatures have up to 24 months to amend marriage laws.


This news will affect Hong Kong.


All Canadian provinces except for Quebec are governed by the English common law tradition, as is Hong Kong's legal system.


Therefore, this ruling could be seen as a precedent should a similar case be heard in a Hong Kong court.


Many Hong Kong residents, including lesbians and gays, have Canadian passports. It is likely that in the near future, many of them will be married to their same-sex partners under the same law that governs heterosexual marriages and they may decide to live here. The SAR government will have an obligation to recognise these marriages.


Also, not allowing same-sex couples to register their marriage is inconsistent with the spirit of the Basic Law, which states (Article 25, Chapter III) that, 'all Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law'. And yet lesbians and gays are denied the right to marry the people they love.


Horizons (www.horizons.org.hk) is a government-certified charity with the primary objective to provide relief for people affected by sexual orientation issues. We do not want to see more pain for lesbians and gays caused by the system's denial of their right to marry their loved ones.


REGGIE HO


Secretarial Co-ordinator


Horizons


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