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Hong Kong court declares equal inheritance rights for same-sex couples in a landmark ruling.

Hong Kong Court Upholds Same-Sex Inheritance Rights, Boosting LGBT Activists

Government Bid Rejected

A Hong Kong court has dismissed the government’s attempt to deny inheritance rights to same-sex married couples, deeming it an unfair burden. This ruling is seen as a step forward for LGBT rights activists in the global financial hub, potentially influencing other Asian jurisdictions like Singapore and Japan to reevaluate their positions on inclusivity.

Legal Victory for Same-Sex Couples

In Hong Kong, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized, leading some couples to marry in countries where it is permitted. The court’s decision is a response to the government’s appeal against a 2020 ruling that granted equal inheritance rights to same-sex married couples under the city’s laws.

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Judges Peter Cheung, Maria Yuen, and Thomas Au stated in a written judgment that the government appeal had failed on all grounds. They emphasized that there is no reason why foreign same-sex marriages should not be recognized, highlighting the principle of equality.

Calls for Comprehensive Reform

While activists welcomed the court’s decision, they are advocating for broader reforms. They argue that implementing a comprehensive system to recognize same-sex partnerships is the optimal solution. Jerome Yau from Hong Kong Marriage Equality expressed the view that same-sex marriage is the only permanent resolution for Hong Kong.

Two-Year Framework Deadline

In September, Hong Kong’s highest court ruled against same-sex marriage but granted the government a two-year timeframe to establish a legal framework for recognizing unions between same-sex couples.

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Rights Denied, Discrimination Rejected

Last week, the Court of Appeal also dismissed the government’s attempt to deny same-sex married couples the right to rent and own public housing. The court deemed this denial discriminatory and a complete violation of the couples’ rights.

These legal victories provide hope for the advancement of LGBT rights in Hong Kong and serve as an inspiration for other regions in Asia to reevaluate their stance on inclusivity.

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