A number of community groups representing transsexuals have accused the government of being "irresponsible" for stipulating that same-sex couples cannot marry - that one would have had to undergo a full sex-change operation for it to happen.
The proposed amendment to the Marriage Ordinance followed a Court of Final Appeal decision last year that transsexual "W" should be allowed to marry her boyfriend, though she had not completed sex-change surgery.
At a Legislative Council Bills Committee meeting yesterday to scrutinize the proposed amendment, gay Cantopop singer Denise Ho Wan-sze of Big Love Alliance said that since the court ruling she has been constantly asked by media if she will undergo sex- change surgery, adding: "I'm surprised that in this day and age our society continues to misunderstand the sexual minorities.
"The sex-reassignment operation is really complicated, and for some people it can be unsuitable. Some experience great physical suffering after undergoing such surgery."
She asked why transsexuals who have not undergone full sex-change surgery should be marginalized and refused the opportunity to start a family with their loved ones.
She said the proposed amendment did not reflect the spirit of the court's ruling, which was intended to give transsexuals the right to marry.
Also being heard was Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit of Rainbow Hong Kong, who said transsexuals can face great pressure from society and are often ridiculed. But Parents' Association leader Leticia Lee See-yin, holding a poster on the sexes, said: "A person cannot change his or her gender identity without undergoing sex-change surgery."
The group also lashed out at Equal Opportunities Commission chairman York Chow Yat-ngok for proposing that transgenders be allowed to marry without the need for a full sex-change operation to be part of the equation.
It also argued Hong Kong did not need to look overseas for pointers when seeking to amend marriage laws.