• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:13am
NewsHong Kong
RIGHTS

UK consulate in Hong Kong bars same-sex weddings after government objection

British missions in China and numerous other countries can perform same-sex unions, but Hong Kong's will not go against government policy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 3:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 10:36am

Same-sex marriages will be allowed at British consulates in China, Russia, Azerbaijan and 20 other countries, but not in Hong Kong, according to the local consulate.

"Unfortunately, the Hong Kong government has raised an objection to the solemnisation of same-sex marriages in Hong Kong," said a spokeswoman for the British consulate.

While diplomatic missions are under British rule and not subject to Hong Kong law, it is a requirement under British law that a marriage licence only be issued if the host government does not object.

The news from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office last week saying couples could approach consulates in some countries to be married initially drew joy from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) couples, but it was cut short when the consulate revealed the Hong Kong government's objection.

"The Chinese [central] government and the Russian government aren't objecting, yet the Hong Kong government is still saying they don't want this," said Nigel Collett, a writer who is set to marry his Singaporean partner this August in Britain.

"They're blocking every stage of the way to same-sex marriage, thinking if they give an inch it'll come to pass in Hong Kong."

While Collett's plans are not foiled by the Hong Kong government's objection, others who have been lobbying their consulates are still upset about this development.

"We are especially outraged by this … there's a very strong homophobic group lobbying for this," said Betty Grisoni, 44, co-founder of Double Happiness, a group looking to lobby for the interests of LGBT couples.

Grisoni, a public relations expert, has been trying to marry her partner of 15 years at the French consulate ever since France legalised same-sex marriages in May 2013.

"Most of our friends are here, I've been living here for 12 years, and not been living in France for over 23 years. Why can't we get married where most of our friends are? It's just not fair," Grisoni said.

Double Happiness looks to push for the right to marry in the consulates of countries where same-sex marriages and civil unions are legal, and ultimately to lobby the Hong Kong government itself to recognise LGBT unions.

Globally, there are 16 countries that recognise same-sex marriages, all with diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, but so far the Post has only been able to confirm that the Spanish consulate performs such marriages.

A representative from the Spanish consulate said it would be possible for two Spaniards, or a Spaniard and a person from another country where same-sex marriage is legal, to be married in the consulate. But if the partner came from a country with restrictions, that would have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

The British consulate said it had sent a note to the Hong Kong government seeking guidance.

The government's protocol department said it could not provide an answer, while the Immigration Department and Security Bureau said it was not a matter under their purview.

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This article is now closed to comments

captam
This was all the doing of the previous C.E , Catholic "Bowtie", sending his "signal" of objection when not flying around on local tycoon's private jets.
Many Christians are like this; hypocrites, only following the parts of the bible which suit them personally.
Polarising Views
So will the SCMP please find out which department of the wonderful HK Government blocked this?
Did it ever go to LEGCO?
You say that "The Government's protocol department said it couldn't provide an answer" … but someone must know…. Perhaps the British Consulate could furnish a copy of the correspondence?
rsallen
The people who care most seem to be small-minded bigots desperate to impose their religious nonsense on everyone else.
rsallen
And just because I'm arguing in favour of equality it doesn't mean I'm gay. Sorry to spoil your simple little view of the world.
hkhk
The Hong Kong government can obstruct all they want. Equal rights for same sex couples is not only right but is becoming the standard for internationally competitive cities.
Kubrick
Who exactly in the Hong Kong government objected - which department or individual? The UK Consulate needs to give specifics.
rolftsui
Marriage is an act of union between any two people, to the exclusion of all others. The sanctity of this merger is a right which belongs to all.
It is not up to the state or religion to be an impediment to this process.
Everyone will certainly have differing opinions however this should be based on fact, not emotions or doctrines which have no factual basis.
LGBT community all over the world are constantly being targeted, with mainstream support ranging from nothing to something. It is only natural everyone finds comfort in numbers and have a group which advocates what naturally should be offered to all. The right to marry the very person you choose.
rsallen
What have the people of Hong Kong done to deserve this miserable, incompetent, craven government?
ohyeahar
What’s the concern of the HK gov against gay marriage anyway? They can’t claim religious reasons because the HK population is mostly atheist. Do they think that if gay marriage is legalized, then it encourages homosexuality and society will collapse? It’s not like a heterosexual man would think to himself “Wow, gays are allowed to get married now? Maybe I should try batting for the other team.”
johndoe
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Two men or two women cannot have babies. This is the law of nature. Marriage must reflect that fact. Homosexuals have a psychological problem and shall be respected in the same way as pedophiles or other non-biologically sensible behaviors.

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