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  • Aug 23, 2014
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RIGHTS

Christians in prayer rally to fight gay law proposal

Religious groups say their freedom of speech is threatened by move to protect the rights of sexual minorities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 7:26am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 81%
  • No: 19%
14 Jan 2013
  • Yes
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Total number of votes recorded: 461

Thousands of Christians staged a rally outside government headquarters yesterday to show their opposition to proposed legislation that would outlaw discrimination against sexual minorities.

The Evangelical Free Church of China Yan Fook Church, which organised the event, estimated that up to 50,000 people joined the "Inclusive Love Praying Concert" at Tamar Park, Admiralty, to voice their disapproval through singing and praying. They said such a law would restrict their freedom of speech on gay rights. Police put the turnout at 5,000.

"If this becomes the law, those who oppose homosexuality will have their freedom of speech restricted," said the Reverend Jayson Tam, convenor of the "praying concert".

In a separate public event, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying would disclose shortly whether a public consultation would be launched.

"In this regard, our colleagues have already made preparations. We are ready [for a public consultation] once the chief executive finds it is the appropriate time … Once there are further communications and public discussions [in the community], I believe there will be an opportunity to conduct a public consultation, details of which will be addressed in the policy address," Tam said.

The chief executive delivers his maiden policy address on Wednesday.

The Reverend Tam said there were examples in Western countries of similar legislation leading to "reverse" discrimination. He added they did not oppose the government launching a consultation on the law, but they would voice their opposing views.

Wong Man-leung, 55, a Christian at the event, said: "I respect [gay people]. But I may be in trouble if I carelessly say something wrong about them."

He said homosexuality was against the idea of family in traditional Chinese culture.

Ann Chan, 22, a student, said: "I don't want the legislation as homosexuality goes against our Christian values." She was open to a consultation but would express her opposition.

Openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said participants were misled. "I believe they were mobilised to come because there were people saying if legislation is approved, they can't talk about homosexuality in church or even Christian doctrine anymore," he said.

Chan said he was not hopeful that the chief executive would include the consultation in his policy address, but he would continue fighting for it as the first step to legislation to protect gay rights.

A gay-friendly clergy said Christians should be more inclusive of homosexuality.

"The world has changed. We should give gay people more reasonable treatment," said Silas Wong Kwok-yiu of the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship.

The South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that there was no timetable within the government for rolling out the consultation because it wanted to deal with "livelihood matters" first, a government source said.

In November, the Legislative Council voted down a motion to launch a public consultation.

"The government is open-minded on whether to consult the public [about] the legislation of the anti-discrimination law. The chief executive will further explain the matter … in the policy address," the minister reiterated.

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39

This article is now closed to comments

xiaoblueleaf
Don't suppose most Chirstians are against gay marriage or whatsoever - only a minority, mostly the Catholic Church and some extremists.
jyshen
when did allowing ppl to have different values than chrisitian ones become an infringement on freedom of speech? what a bunch of hypocrites
tomonday
idiots
choisuibun
Discrimination is bad. No question about it.discrimination happens much more frequent these days in hk where people are judged by their appearance, too short, slim, fat.,tall, or not pretty, than being homosexual. Why do we see such an urgency ? Can religious group express their concern about the anti-discrimination law? Homosexuality is a personal thing. However I would not given up my right to tell my kids and kids of kids that homosexuality is a choice some people make but is wrong.
commbus
Being gay is NOT a choice. FYI.
Dai Muff
choisuibun, I'd say if you think you could CHOOSE to be gay, you are certainly gayer than I am. I know I could not.
anson
The question is - is it a choice? Is being a heterosexual a choice? You are obviously heterosexual, were you given a choice? Did you need to choose? Or were your feelings just natural? Is it a choice?
anson
I just don't get what all the fuss is about. Surely the Hong Kong churches can see the situation in other countries that have such anti-discrimination legislation. It does not restrict religious freedom. Within the context of a given religion people are able to believe what is written or conveyed within the said religion. But, within those same secular societies you are just not free to be rude, insulting or to bring your beliefs into the wider public arena - either through verbal assaults or through discrimination in such things as employment.
The problem can only really be resolved over time. Different societies and different civilisations over time have demonised same sex relationships and we have been educated by those around us, by movies, by society in general to see boy-girl as the norm. Such legislation could help to create a more harmonious society. Such legislation would not end discrimination. Homophobes would just become better at being homophobes. But such legislation could lead to some brave male (within HK girls can already do this and no one pays attention) couples openly walking down the road and holding hands. When people get used to this then we can say that the problem has been resolved. But it will take a long time.
ianson
Hardly surprising that people who believe all of nature survived a global flood by hitching a ride in a boat made by Noah are also duped into thinking this law has anything at all to do with their freedom of speech.
mercedes2233
Discrimination against any groups for race, sex or whatever is abhorrent. It is astonishing that Christians should be against proposed anti-discrimination laws. And their 'Inclusive Love' concert is a misnomer. Shame indeed on these people.

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