Hong Kong's highest court on Monday ruled against a bid from more than 30 financial, law, and human rights organizations to support a British lesbian sueing the Hong Kong government for equal rights.
The 15 banks, 16 law firms and Amnesty International wanted to present at the June 5 hearing at the Court of Final Appeal to give "a more rounded picture" of the Immigration Department's practice of granting spouse visas only to heterosexual married couples.
A woman, named as QT in court documents, sued the Hong Kong government after her application to reside in Hong Kong as a dependent of her same-sex partner was denied.
The judgment last week acknowledged that the immigration policy carried consequences for employers but said the arguments presented by the banks and law firms had already been covered by QT's lawyers.
"Hong Kong faces strong competition from other international financial cities in the region and globally and the current immigration policy risks putting Hong Kong behind other jurisdictions," a spokesman from Davis Polk and Wardwell, the lawyers representing the banks and law firms said, according to the South China Morning Post.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Holdings are among the financial institutions that have filed an application to intervene in the case, according to Bloomberg, while Hong Kong's highest court considers the case.
The banks and law firms believe "the appeal has no merit, or is based on an unequal treatment that discriminates against same-sex partners," B. Chen Zhu, the companies' counsel, told Boomberg. "They all want to express their support for equal treatment for LGBT immigrants."
Foreign chambers of commerce have lobbied Hong Kong's government to accommodate spouses of LGBT expats, Bloomberg reports.
Although Hong Kong doesn't have equal marriage rights or recognize same-sex marriage, in 2016 it started allowing same-sex spouses or civil partners of consular officials to stay in the city.