Hong Kong same-sex benefits, court overturned a past judgement.
Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal reportedly ruled on Thursday that the government cannot deny same-sex couples spousal employment benefits.
The court overturned a past judgement, unanimously ruling that blocking the benefits was against the law, according to The Associated Press.
“It follows therefore that the ‘prevailing views of the community on marriage’ … even if this can confidently be gauged in the first place, are simply not relevant to a consideration of the justification exercise,” the ruling said, the AP noted.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, does not legally recognize same-sex marriage, though it has taken steps toward recognizing LGBTQ rights, according to the AP. The Court of Final Appeal also decided last year that immigration law mandated the same-sex partner of a British expatriate married overseas deserved the same visa as a heterosexual partner, it added.
Amnesty International Hong Kong told the news service Thursday’s judgment is a “huge step forward for equality” that brings Hong Kong “more in line with its international obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of people with different sexual orientations.”
While some companies in Hong Kong already offer benefits to same-sex partners, it is reportedly unclear what impact Thursday’s ruling will have on private companies.
Hong Kong has its own system of courts independent of China, where the ruling Communist Party has already ruled out the possibility of same-sex marriage in the country, the AP noted.
Taiwan last month became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.