Same-sex housing victory ‘bittersweet’: lawyers

Lawyers for a gay man who won a legal challenge against the Housing Authority over the right for same-sex couples to live together in a subsidised flat welcomed the ruling, but described the victory as “bittersweet.”

The High Court on Friday ruled in favour of Henry Li and his now-deceased partner Edgar Ng, saying the authority’s policy to bar married, same-sex couples from jointly owning or officially living together in a Home Ownership Scheme flat is unconstitutional.

“Just like any other couples in Hong Kong, all Edgar and Henry wanted was to be able to build a home together without suffering harassment and discrimination,” the lawyers said in a statement.

“Sadly, for years, they had lived in constant fear that they be evicted from their own home. It would have meant a lot to Edgar to receive today’s judgement.”

The LGBT group, Pink Alliance, also said the ruling has reaffirmed that discrimination has no place in the society.

Its chief executive, Jerome Yau, said the government should take the initiative to review other laws that affect same-sex couples.

“Why should we keep on wasting taxpayers’ dollars? Why don’t we do something a bit constructive? I am quite sure that the LGBT community is very much interested in working with the government,” he said.

“The interest at the end of the day is the same. We all want to have a fair and equal society. No one is asking for special treatment or special right.”

Separately, the Broadway Cinematheque said the screening of a documentary on Taiwan legalising gay marriage has been cancelled after “the Film Censorship Authority did not authorise the screening of the full documentary.”

Yau said while he would not speculate why the authorities had issues with the documentary, the decision certainly doesn’t send a positive message.

“All these years we have seen lots of LGBT films and documentaries and I haven’t heard of any problems. So this is a bit of surprise,” he said.