Hong Kong court: Denying same-sex spousal benefits unlawful

June 06, 2019 - 12:13 am

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal says the government cannot deny spousal employment benefits to same-sex couples in a ruling hailed as a major step forward for same-sex equality in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The court Thursday overturned an earlier judgment, saying unanimously that denying same-sex couples access to spousal benefits is unlawful.

Although same-sex marriage is not recognized in Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal ruled last year that the same-sex partner of a British expatriate was entitled to equal visa treatment under immigration law.

Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, called Thursday's judgment a "huge step forward for equality" that brings Hong Kong "more in line with its international obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of people with different sexual orientations."