Latest Judicial Development
Learn more about latest judicial development and recognition of LGBT+ rights in the Hong Kong courts, as well as landmark overseas judgments.
Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for Civil Service & Anor: A Victory for Legal Same-sex Married Couples’ Financial Benefits
Summarised by Yoyo Lau (Associate)
L, an Immigration Officer, and S, his same-sex partner, were married legally in New Zealand. L applied for spousal medical and dental benefits under the Civil Service Regulations, and joint assessment of salaries tax under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. However, the applications were refused by the Secretary for the Civil Service and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue respectively. Therefore, L argued that the decisions unlawfully discriminated against him on the ground of his sexual orientation. The Court of First Instance held in favour of L but the Court of Appeal overturned the decision. Eventually, L appealed to the Court of Final Appeal.
Decision and Reasonings
The court held, unanimously allowing the appeal, that:
The judgment of the Court of Final Appeal gives recognition to same-sex marriage in situations regarding spousal financial benefits as the court held that legal same-sex married couples were relevantly analogous with the opposite-sex ones. However, it is noted that the court considered the protection of the marriage institution of Hong Kong as a legitimate aim and accepted that differential treatments for achieving this aim might be justified. It is worrying that courts might still support the traditional opposite-sex marriage only, which probably hinders the development of LGBT+ community.