Hong Kong’s Supreme Court approved on Tuesday, September 5, that people of the same sex can enter into a registered partnership. The ruling is considered a partial victory for Hong Kong’s LGBTQ community, despite same-sex marriages has not yet been approved.
LGBTQ activists have managed to win several minor victories in the Hong Kong legal system through the last decade. Still, Tuesday’s verdict is one of the biggest.
Jailed, pro-democracy activist, Jimmy Sham raised the case, and it is the first time that Hong Kong’s Supreme Court has ruled on the issue.
36-year-old Sham has argued that Hong Kong’s ban on same-sex marriage or registered partnerships violates the right to equal treatment. Judges at Hong Kong’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against Jimmy Sham when it comes to formal marriages. The Supreme Court stated that “the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of marriage is limited to marriages between two people of the opposite sex”. However, the judges acknowledged that the 36-year-old activist had “convincingly argued” an alternative that legally recognizes same-sex partnerships.
Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 from Britain. The agreement requires the former British colony to have a high degree of autonomy from China. Still, China has gradually increased its influence in Hong Kong. In China, neither marriage nor registered partnerships between homosexuals are allowed.