A Hong Kong court has again ruled against same-sex marriage, this time in a case regarding marriages performed abroad.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled against activist Jimmy Sham, who argued that his same-sex marriage, performed in New York, should be legally recognized. In its decision, the court ruled that Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which took effect in 1990, permitted marriage rights to opposite-sex couples only.
Because the Basic Law was written before same-sex marriages were legally recognized anywhere in the world, the court ruled that the Basic Law could not had conferred marriage rights to same-sex couples, even those marriages performed abroad. “The Basic Law only prefers heterosexual marriage, which means that only heterosexual couples are entitled to recognition of their foreign marriage,” wrote Chief Judge Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor in the decision, South China Morning Post reports.
“If the same recognition is afforded to same-sex couples married overseas,” he continued, “they would be able to circumvent the preference enshrined in Article 37, clearly contrary to the intention of the drafters of the Basic Law.”
This is not the first time that a Hong Kong court has ruled against gay marriage. In 2019, the Court of First Instance ruled against a lesbian who argued that the semi-autonomous territory should recognize same-sex civil unions.
“It is obvious that were the court to ‘update’ the meaning of ‘marriage’ to include … same-sex marriage, it would be introducing a new social policy on a fundamental issue with far-reaching legal, social, and economic consequences and ramifications,” Judge Anderson Chow wrote in that ruling.