dde280cda3e5c9f75d42868a9646f1b1Hong Kong: Gay and lesbian founders of a new group are lobbying the government for the recognition of their nuptials legally conducted and accepted abroad.

The recently launched new group called Double Happiness say they are motivated by the global debate on same-sex marriages, civil partnerships and the way countries recognize each other’s marital laws, reports scmp.com.

“It’s a good time to get the momentum going,” said Hong Kong and Canadian passport holder Guy Ho.

Ho, 52, an IT consultant, married his partner Henry Lam, 36, in 2011 in Canada and both are calling on the government to recognize their marriage.

The couple have joined forces with another same-sex couple, French expatriate Betty Grisoni, 43, and Singaporean Abby Lee, 41, to form the group, which they say is the first solely dedicated to advocating the recognition of overseas nuptials in Hong Kong, reported scmp.com.

The city does not allow same-sex marriages and also does not recognize same-sex marriages carried out in other countries such as Canada.

Grisoni said she knew of same-sex couples who had decided not to move to Hong Kong for work because their spouse would not be recognized as their legal partner.

She met Lee 15 years ago in Singapore and they had a commitment ceremony in Sydney in 2002. The couple would like to be able to marry at the French consulate in Hong Kong after France legalised same-sex marriages last May.

“It’s not about wanting something special or extra. It is about love and commitment and we just want what everyone else has,” Grisoni said.

Ho believes mainstream Hong Kong society is ready to accept same-sex marriages and that it also extends to other basic civil rights.

“We are not second-class citizens,” he told scmp.com, pointing out that same-sex couples who have married overseas cannot access insurance coverage for their spouse. Another example related to hospital visits, as same-sex partners can be denied access during visiting hours because they are not deemed to be family.

Neither same sex marriage nor civil partnership registered inside or outside Hong Kong is recognized by the Law of Hong Kong.  Nonetheless, in June 2009, the Hong Kong Government extended limited recognition and protection to cohabitating same-sex couples in its Domestic Violence Ordinance.

As a former British colony, Hong Kong residents are also a British National (Overseas). By virtue of the passage of Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 in the UK, all British nationals, including British Nationals (Overseas), are allowed to register civil partnerships with a limited number of British consulates or embassies abroad.

The British Consulate-General in Hong Kong refrains from providing such service to British nationals because of disagreement from the Hong Kong government.

Source: scmp.com,  en.wikipedia.org