Gay marriage in Hong Kong: majority of people support legalization

A rainbow flag, commonly known as the “gay pride” flag, flies in Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence, AFP

Good work, and keep going, Hong Kong.

A majority of people now support legalizing gay marriage, according to a new Hong Kong University study.

Researchers asked over 1,400 people about their attitudes toward same-sex couples in 2017, and compared the results to a similar survey they did in 2013. They found that overall, support for gay rights is growing.

In 2017, 50.4 percent of respondents said that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry — a substantial jump from 38 percent in 2013. Some 49.6 percent either said they were neutral or disagreed.

More people also now back the creation of a law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation — 69 percent in 2017, compared to 58 percent in 2013.

An overwhelming majority — 73 percent — of respondents in 2013 supported gay couples having the same rights for hospital visitation, housing discrimination, fatal accidents and property inheritance as heterosexual couples. That support has continued to grow, to 78 percent in 2017.

The results come just the day before a scheduled motion debate in LegCo on studying policies about same-sex unions. Coconuts HK has contacted the office of Legislative Councillor Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, Hong Kong’s only openly gay lawmaker, who introduced the motion, for further comment.

The study is somewhat of a big deal for gay rights in Hong Kong, which have taken a hit in recent weeks.

An appeals court recently affirmed the government’s decision to deny a gay public servant’s request for spousal benefits. And just two weeks ago, Hong Kong’s libraries took 10 children’s books related to same-sex parenting off the shelves.

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