Hong Kong LGBT heavyweights Abby Lee, Betty Grisoni, Guy Ho and Henry Lam created Double Happiness in response to the lack of legal recognition of same sex marriage in Hong Kong.
The launch event took place at Pier 7 Cafe and Bar from 3pm on March 2nd, a date significant to one of the couples – Abby and Betty – who were also celebrating the 12th anniversary of their commitment ceremony. The launch was attended by LGBT community leaders, press, allies, friends and family.
“We set up Double Happiness because we felt that there wasn’t any proper organisation representing gay and lesbian couples that are married overseas and want their marriage officially recognised by the Hong Kong government”, says Abby Lee, one of the founders of Double Happiness and now campaigning to marry her French partner at the Hong Kong French Consulate. “We are also representing couples fighting to get married in Hong Kong either in Hong Kong’s registration offices or consulates of countries which laws allow same sex marriages.”
The main aims of Double Happiness is to actively campaign for the legal recognition of same-sex couples’ relationships and marriage equality, to raise awareness of the importance of marriage to same-sex couples, to participate in events that promote marriage equality and to organise social gatherings for married or to-be-married same-sex couples as well as their friends, allies and families.
Double Happiness will strive towards 5 milestones on the road towards marriage equality in Hong Kong:
1. For same-sex couples with foreign citizenship to be able to form civil partnerships or marriages in Hong Kong at consulates from countries that have such regimes
2. For the Hong Kong government to recognise civil partnerships and same-sex marriages conducted in other countries
3. For the Hong Kong government to recognise same-sex couples as de facto couples or common law spouses
4. For the Hong Kong government to allow domestic partnerships for same sex couples to afford them rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar or identical to those of married heterosexual couples
5. And ultimately, for the Hong Kong government to allow same-sex marriages
Members of the Double Happiness group includes same sex couples who are married overseas and some who are proactively trying to get married either in Hong Kong or overseas. The group welcomes supporters from the LGBT community and also heterosexual allies.
“Marriage is a basic human right and in Hong Kong, where there is not even a law against discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation, marriage equality still has some way to go. It is regrettable that the Hong Kong government currently recognises neither homosexual civil unions or same-sex marriage,” says Henry Lam who is legally married to Guy Ho in Canada in 2011. “However, we hope that with the creation of Double Happiness, our voices will finally be heard.”