Queer Hong Kong Woman Sues for Civil Union Rights

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A Hong Kong woman is suing her city's government for denying her the right to enter into a civil partnership with her female partner, arguing the ban against such partnerships is unconstitutional. 

The woman, known only as Mk, filed the suit in June; it alleges the inability for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, let alone marriage, violates her rights to privacy and equality granted by the city's Bill of Rights, reports South China Morning Post. Though part of China, Hong Kong is considered a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China.

Details emerged of the confidential court document Friday during a preliminary hearing at the High Court.

“We want legal status for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Ng Gene-bond, the attorney for Mk, during a 30-minute hearing. Hong Kong lawyers said the litigation would involve input from all 13 government departments and requested more time from the court.

“It is a direct challenge to the whole system,” out lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen told the Post. “The government has no way to escape from studying all levels of policies [on treating same-sex partners] in the process.” 

This kind of legal challenge to same-sex marriage bans has been successful in Europe and the United States. But if it fails it could solidify discrimination in Asia, warned Michael Vidler, the litigator of many LGBTQ-related cases in Hong Kong.

“If this challenge fails it would set a bad precedent that will take many, many years to overcome," he said.

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