Why same-sex marriage and Hong Kong Chinese values don’t mix: it’s about the family line

  • Respect for the choice of LGBT groups does not mean support for equal marriage rights, at least not in a traditional Chinese society like that of Hong Kong
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 11:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 11:07am

I refer to the letter from John Yau: “Loss of LGBT talent would hinder progress” (November 28). I understand how frustrating it can be for LGBT groups to try and live a proud life in our city. However, I need to point out that respecting a different form of love does not necessarily mean supporting equal marriage rights.

The same can be said for equal gender opportunities. While we have gained a lot of progress, there is always a line that cannot be crossed. It might not be the perfect example, but, just as there is no use complaining against companies which do not hire men as receptionists, there is no way a Chinese family that wants its bloodline to continue would readily accept a same-sex partner for younger members.

In fact, the traditional Chinese belief is that the family is the base from which the clan of the same surname can flourish and expand its influence. The very goal of marriage is to produce healthy offspring who will one day support and uplift the family. Therefore, many Chinese customs revolve around marriage.

In Hong Kong, many legal rights are also tied to marriage, ranging from parenting to property and inheritance rights. A lot of these have been in place for a long time. Agreeing to same-sex marriage means all these will have to be revised and conflicts will arise that may exacerbate existing family problems.

I am not sure how many professionals belong to the LGBT community. However, to say that their departure will hinder Hong Kong’s progress is definitely an exaggeration. Hong Kong has never been a morally liberal city or a pioneer of anything like that. I do not believe anyone living in Hong Kong does not know this.

We can embrace something different, but if it will eat into the roots of our society and culture, then it has to wait.

Clarence Kwan, Ho Man Tin