Two gay and lesbian couples plan to swap partners and marry so they can claim housing and other benefits to which they say they are entitled. Tommy Chen No'el and his lesbian 'fiancee' Wai Wai will get married at City Hall this morning and go to the Housing Authority office in Lok Fu to apply for public housing in the afternoon. The couple's same-sex partners plan to marry later. Afterwards, the four will swap back to their original partners. Mr Chen will wear a gown and Ms Wai a suit at the ceremony. Justin So, a spokesman for gay and lesbian rights group Rainbow Action, said the two sham marriages were intended to challenge the ban on housing assistance, married persons' tax allowances and adoption services to homosexual couples. 'The Government refuses to give homosexuals equal rights. We hope this method could help them get some other basic rights,' he said. If the plan worked, his group would provide a 'matching service' for gay and lesbian couples to take similar action. There was a 'huge demand from our gay comrades who want to get married'. The 28-year-old groom, Mr Chen, said: 'We are poor. This is the only way for us to get the welfare benefits. We will swap partners later.' He said there were 54 countries where same-sex couples received married persons' social benefits. But other gay activists feared the action would backfire. 'I have reservations . . . It can make a lot of noise but it may not be wise. It may lead to a lot of consequences,' activist Reggie Ho said. Solicitor Daniel Wong Kwong-tung said that while marriage itself was legal, the application for benefits could be unlawful. 'The law is not concerned whether a marriage is real or fake. But when you apply for benefits, such as housing, you have to make a declaration. If the Housing Authority found out the applicants did not live together . . . that would be illegal,' Mr Wong said. But Mr Wong was sympathetic to the couples' plight. He said the laws were outdated and in need of reform.