A file photo shows two women kissing during a gay pride parade in Hong Kong, China. EFE/FILE/YM Yik

Hong Kong top court asks government to recognize same-sex marriage

Hong Kong, Sep 5 (EFE).- The top court of Hong Kong on Tuesday asked the government to allow same-sex marriages, in a partial victory for the LGBTQI+ community in the city.

The official Radio Television Hong Kong said the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) said the city government had a constitutional duty to allow gay couples to register their partnerships.

The court stopped short of granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Activist Jimmy Sham, who married his male partner in New York in 2013, had petitioned the court for marriage rights for gay couples after his wedding was not recognized by Hong Kong law.

Sham is currently on remand under the National Security Law.

The court rejected Sham’s argument that gay couples have a right to marriage under Hong Kong laws, ruling that such unions are only for heterosexuals.

The Hong Kong LGBTQI+ community celebrated a partial victory after a prolonged legal battle with regional authorities.

The court, however, agreed with Sham’s assertion that the government had failed to provide an alternative means of legal recognition for same-sex partnerships in violation of privacy.

The court ruled that same-sex couples must have “access to an alternative framework conferring legal recognition on their relationship to meet basic social requirements.”

The government should “provide them with a sense of legitimacy, dispelling any sense that they belong to an inferior class of persons whose relationship is undeserving of recognition,” the judgment said.

The court gave the government two years to draw up a legal framework for the recognition of same-sex unions. EFE