My Take

Love that lawmakers dare not speak of

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 3:11am

I am not gay and my son, as far as I know, is not gay. I am really glad about that because otherwise we would have to put up with those people from the Family Morality Concern Network, lawmakers like James To Kun-sun and Abraham Razack and officials like Raymond Tam Chi-yuen.

This week, a moderate motion was put forward in the Legislative Council. It was not a demand for an anti-discrimination law to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. It merely called for more public debate on whether we needed such a law.

But opponents voted it down, on the premise that we shouldn't even discuss the issue.

Apparently, even raising the matter is enough to end morality as we know it.

To, a Democrat, said: "Discrimination of any sort is not acceptable." But, and there is always a "but" with these people, we must tread carefully "when it came to legislation". Does that mean we can't even talk about it?

Razack, of the Business and Professionals Alliance, said that as a matter of morality, the issue would not be best solved through legislation. Seriously, what does a man who is so deep in the pockets of our geriatric property tycoons know about morality?

But my favourite response was from Tam. The secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs said the motion was fine, but for two problems: its timing and controversial subject matter! If I didn't know he was serious, I would have thought he was making a joke. "It's important to see whether it is the right time for these discussions," he said.

So when will be a good time? When it's no longer controversial, perhaps? Tam said Hong Kong was "a tolerant and open society" but traditional views of marriage and family were still strong.

Well, Hong Kong is tolerant and open when you are a white expatriate or a Chinese who is not too poor.

It's a wholly different story if your skin is dark, if you are from South Asia, or if you work as a foreign domestic helper.

A 2010 survey of 792 gay people found one in three experienced employment discrimination.

But if you insist on not seeing, hearing or addressing the issue, you can pretend it doesn't exist. Sadly, that is turning out to be a very effective strategy.