Gay group: govt should look at policies after mistake

The head of Pink Alliance, Jerome Yau, said on Friday that the government did the right thing in admitting that staff made a mistake when they refused to let a gay man deal with arrangements after his husband’s death, and urged officials to apply the same thinking to policies in other areas.

The High Court heard on Thursday that a gay man, Henry Li, had agreed to drop a legal challenge after the respondents – the justice secretary and the director of health – made it clear that the police and pathologists wouldn’t treat gay couples differently when it came to identifying their partner’s body.

Speaking on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme, Yau said the same sentiment should apply across the board.

“That should be applied to all government policies,” Yau told RTHK’s Janice Wong. “I mean, it’s rather illogical to say that we have one set of policies that say: look, we’re going to treat gay couples fairly but, on the other hand, with some other policies, that’s not the case.

“I think that’s obviously rather illogical and incoherent and I think it is important for the government to say: at least we’re going to take a look at all policies and regulations and treat gay couples fairly in all instances.”

In the hearing on Thursday, High Court judge Anderson Chow said that the authorities also acknowledged that the Coroner’s Court does not deny the rights of the same-sex spouse of a deceased person.

The judge also said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department does not have any policy or internal guidelines prohibiting the department from providing services on death arrangements to the same-sex spouse of the deceased.

The court also noted that the Immigration Department does not prevent the same-sex spouse of a deceased person from applying for a death certificate.