scmp_18feb09_ns_employ3_dw8_7513_8518163Hong Kong: Hong Kong as a former Crown Colony heavily influenced by British laws and legislation should follow suit and legislate marriage equality laws, say business law students at the University of Hong Kong.

Same-sex relationship is a reality, regardless of whether people choose to acknowledge it, says, a law blog that explores the legal environment in and around Hong Kong and largely written by business law students at the University of Hong Kong as part of their educational and assessment process.

“This might just be the time for our government to open up her mind and raise that rainbow flag,” just as British Prime Minister David Cameron said “When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change,” said a post in that blog.

It pointed out that Hong Kong government legalized same-sex sexual activity since 1991, established equal age consent and anti-discrimination laws in employment and that this shows that the government has acknowledged same-sex relationship.

Hence “legalizing same-sex marriage would further show the liberty of Hong Kong,” it said.

Hong Kong should follow her “mother” in legalizing same sex marriage since it is heavily influenced by the British laws and legislations as England and Wales legalized marriage among same-sex couples on March 29.

Prime Minister David Cameron celebrated that historic moment, saying “It (same-sex civil marriage) says we are a country that will continue to honor its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth.”

This affirmation should make Hong Kong legislators more lenient now for legalizing same-sex marriage, the students said.

Some might think that legalizing same-sex marriage could be misread as the government encouraging same sex acts, affecting heterosexual marriage rate but the fact is that in countries where same-sex marriage has been legalized, heterosexual marriage rate was not affected at all, they said.

“Why is the Hong Kong government being reluctant in same-sex recognition legislation?” the students asked, elaborating that currently, Hong Kong does not recognize same sex marriage or civil partnership registered inside or outside Hong Kong.

Moreover, referring to those lobbying inequality for same-sex relationships, the government has said that this was to preserve Chinese tradition, where relationships should be heterosexual.

They pointed to this anomaly as Hong Kong does have laws to prevent discrimination of LGBT, albeit only applicable to government employment.

However, the students conceded that religion groups who have lobbied the banning of same-sex relations and marriage for what they consider as immoral, against the Bible and Chinese tradition did falter the government’s determination to legitimately recognize gays and lesbians.

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–42) and reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

The culture of Hong Kong, its legal and educational system, loosely follows the system in England even after it reverted to China under the principle of “one country, two systems.”