'No' to same-sex social benefits

Local | Sophie Hui 10 Jul 2019

Hongkongers support same-sex marriage by a margin of 47 to 40 percent, according to a Chinese University of Hong Kong survey.

The university's Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies interviewed 732 adult citizens from June 17 to 20, and 47 percent of them said same-sex marriage should be allowed in Hong Kong.

But 39.5 percent disagreed with the legalization, while the rest remained neutral or did not know how to answer the question.

The institute conducted the survey after Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in May.

Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal also recently ruled in favor of a gay civil servant, allowing him and his husband to enjoy spousal benefits and joint tax assessments.

More than half of the respondents - 51.1 percent - agreed with the decision by the city's highest court, but 39.1 percent were against it.

However, when it comes to other social benefits, respondents became more cautious.

The survey found that 51.9 percent were opposed to same-sex spouses having the right to apply for public housing in Hong Kong, while only 39.3 percent agreed that they have the right.

More than half of the respondents also disagreed that same-sex spouses have the right to apply for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme.

But, 53.5 percent of people endorsed the right of spouses to adopt children in Hong Kong, while 39.4 percent disagreed with the notion.

Two-thirds also supported spouses having the right to inherit property if their partners pass away.

Some 48.1 percent of respondents believe the chance of legalizing same-sex marriage in Hong Kong in 10 years is small, while 10.1 percent said it will not happen at all.

However, about 25 percent believe there is quite a great or very great possibility of it happening.

Taiwan's parliament legalized same-sex marriage on May 24, becoming the first in Asia to do so.

Its constitutional court ruled two years ago that same-sex couples have the right to marry.

However, it attracted backlash and a majority of people voted in referendums against legalizing same-sex marriage.

Taiwan enacted a special law for same-sex marriage instead of changing the existing definition of marriage in its civil law.

In Hong Kong, the government started recognizing overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependent visas last year.

This came after a married British lesbian, referred to as QT, won a judicial review last July after she was denied a spousal visa.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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