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4 May 2017

Gay HK Civil Service Workers Could Marry Abroad for Equal Rights

Workers’ union says gay public sector employees could marry in other countries to ensure equal rights.

Hong Kong’s gay civil service workers may marry overseas to claim spousal rights after a landmark victory against the government that entitled a gay civil servant's husband to the same benefits as heterosexual colleagues' spouses, observers predicted.

The court on Friday rejected the Civil Service Bureau's claim that granting benefits would damage "the integrity of the institution of marriage.”

Hong Kong Federation of Civil Service Unions CEO Leung Chau-ting told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) the government should expect more gay civil service workers to marry abroad and demand equal rights.

“They’re just getting back [the benefits] married couples are entitled to,” Leung said.

“The government should not deprive them of their rights because of their sexual orientation. Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city and should revise its relevant laws to protect their rights.”

Disciplined Services General Union chairman Lau Yuk-fai told the SCMP he expected more gay colleagues to “come out of the closet” to claim their rights if the ruling stood.

The Civil Service Bureau earlier said it would examine the judgment in detail with the Justice Department to decide on its next step. The ruling will take effect on September 1 this year.

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