Concerned about court's decision

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 2:53am

I disagree with your editorial ("A step in the right direction", May 14).

It refers to the Court of Final Appeal's verdict that Hong Kong's marriage laws are unconstitutional, because they bar transsexuals from marrying.

Before offending a majority or a minority, this legal decision offends human nature itself, a human nature shared by the majority and minorities.

Reading your leader, I was reminded of Shimon Cowen's Politics and Universal Ethics that refers to a view of Murray Gleeson. For this former chief justice of the High Court of Australia, purported rights are anchored in values and a "right" is as good or as true as the value it represents.

You quote Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary as appealing to a "human right" ("Transsexual granted right to wed", May 14). He said, "What is involved is a constitutionally guaranteed human right. One of the functions - perhaps by far the most important one - of constitutionally guaranteed human rights is to protect minorities."

The question, however, is whether there is a right to marry where there is no capacity for procreation. To consider a transsexual's marriage a right implies "a radical change to the traditional concept of marriage", as dissenting judge Patrick Chan Siu-oi said.

The traditional concept includes procreation as an essential, if not exclusive, component of marriage. Which is the right view of marriage?

Where does the value of marriage lie? Are not mutual love and fecundity the indissoluble grounds of marriage as a value? How are we to educate our young people regarding marriage?

Will the decision by the Court of Final Appeal promote a grappling in earnest with these questions? Or will it stifle such a debate at all levels of our society?

Your editorial appeals to the "far-reaching changes in modern society" undergone by "the nature of marriage as a social institution".

Let me point out that what has changed is not the nature of marriage, but people's way of looking at it. Whatever may be the change in people's views, the nature of marriage remains the same.

As G. K. Chesterton put it, "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

Father Lanfranco M. Fedrigotti, Pok Fu Lam