The Rainbow of Macau association delivered an official letter to visiting President Cavaco Silva via the Portuguese Consulate-General. Silva was in Macau recently for an official visit.
Macau was a Portuguese colony from the mid-16th century until it reverted to Chinese rule in 1999. Since then Macau has promulgated its own “mini-constitution” whereby laws under the Portuguese became invalid.
Nonetheless, Macau and Portugal continue to maintain strong bilateral ties.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Portugal back in 2010, but according to Rainbow of Macau’s spokesperson, Jason Chao, they are unable to register same-sex marriages for Macau’s ethnic Chinese with Portuguese citizenship through the consulate.
This is largely in keeping with Macau law where marriage between same-sex couples are neither recognized nor legal.
Chao feels that Macau residents who possess Portuguese citizenship should be entitled to the same rights in Portugal.
His letter also states that in cases in which same-sex married couples in Portugal come and work in Macau, the lack of recognition of the relationship deprives them of their equal rights enjoyed in Portugal.
Chao told macaudailytimes.com.mo that he is aware that Silva, who left for mainland China May 18 is associated with a more conservative and religious background but that it should not stop him from defending rights contemplated in the law.
“Socially we know that he is quite conservative in regards to gay marriage or abortions (…) but as the President of the Portuguese Republic, he is obliged to protect the rights of the citizens, which are in line with the prevailing trend in the West in favor of the advancement of LGBT equality and human rights,” he said.
Chao said his association is aware of a number of gay couples in Macau who are seeking out possible means by which to get married in the territory. “We have received requests for assistance,” he stated.
People of Macau are largely free from discrimination but sexual orientation is not in the list of prohibited discrimination grounds. There are also no express penalties for discriminatory treatment of gay persons.