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)

UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2374875

University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2014/001

5 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014

See all articles by Kelley Loper

Kelley Loper

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; The University of Hong Kong - Centre for Comparative and Public Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Holning Lau

University of North Carolina School of Law

Charles Lau

RTI International

Date Written: January 3, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Loper, Kelley and Lau, Holning and Lau, Charles, Research Shows a Majority of People in Hong Kong Support Gay and Lesbian Couples’ Rights, Not Necessarily Marriage (January 3, 2014). Briefing Paper, Centre for Comparative and Public Law (University of Hong Kong); UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2374875; University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2014/001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374875

Kelley Loper

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

HOME PAGE: http://hub.hku.hk/rp/rp01267

The University of Hong Kong - Centre for Comparative and Public Law

University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong SAR
Hong Kong

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law ( email )

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Holning Lau (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-8514 (Phone)

Charles Lau

RTI International ( email )

PO Box 12194
Research Triangle Park, 27709
United States

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