British woman wins same sex spousal visa case

family law

A British woman living in Hong Kong has finally won her legal battle to have a visa granted to her same sex spouse.

The couple, identified only as ‘QT’ and ‘SS’, moved to Hong Kong in 2011 after QT started a new job at a technology company based there. Prior to their relocation, the two women entered a civil partnership in the UK.

When QT applied for a spousal visa for SS she was denied, as the law in Hong Kong states that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. QT sought to challenge this decision in the High Court of the Southern Chinese territory and former British colony but was rejected.

Despite this initial setback, QT was determined to secure a visa for SS and took her case to the Hong Kong Court of Appeal. The three Judges there unanimously ruled in her favour, stating that the officials who initially rejected her application for a visa had “failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers”.

The Judges declared that as times change “an increasing number of people are no longer prepared to accept the status quo without critical thought”. Although the domestic law on gay marriage is clear, immigration “by definition, requires one to consider not only the local, but also the relevant overseas situation”.

This ruling could be a significant step for LGBT rights in the region. Although Asia has been slower to pass equality laws than Europe and North America, there are signs of progress. Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court of Taiwan ruled that same sex couples should be given the right to marry if they wanted to do so.

Photo of Hong Kong by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr under the Public Domain.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author

Leave a comment