Research Shows a Majority of People in Hong Kong Support Gay and Lesbian Couples’ Rights, Not Necessarily Marriage
Briefing Paper, Centre for Comparative and Public Law (University of Hong Kong)
5 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 3, 2014
Discussions in Hong Kong about same-sex couples’ rights often focus on the issue of same-sex marriage. However, marriage is not the only way the government could extend rights to same-sex couples. In other parts of the world, governments have conferred rights upon gay and lesbian couples without legalising same-sex marriage. Some governments have developed programs that grant same-sex couples a subset of the rights that married heterosexual couples enjoy, for example the right to hospital visitation, the right to inheritance, and the right to sue in cases of fatal accidents. Other governments have developed programs that give same-sex couples access to all the rights that married heterosexual couples have, without using the word “marriage”. These compromise legal solutions have been given a variety of different names, such as “registered domestic partnerships”, “civil unions”, and “civil partnerships.”
We conducted a public opinion survey to investigate Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards granting same-sex couples a variety of rights, including but not limited to the right to marry. We found that only 27% of the public completely agreed that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, and 12% said that they somewhat agreed. However, when we asked about rights more generally, our findings were substantially different: 74% of the public supported granting same-sex couples either all or some of the rights that are accorded to heterosexual couples.
This briefing paper proceeds in two steps. We first provide background on our survey and present our findings. Afterwards, we explore the public policy implications of our research.
Keywords: Hong Kong, Public Opinion, Gay, Lesbian, Same-sex, Tongzhi, Marriage, Domestic Partnership, Civil Union, Civil Partnership
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