XI. Same-Sex Marriage / Civil partnership
Under the Hong Kong law, marriage shall be a Christian marriage or the civil equivalent of a Christian marriage. Section 40 of the Marriage Ordinance ( Cap. 181 ) states that marriage “implies a formal ceremony recognized by law as involving the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others “. Therefore, same-sex couples are excluded from the legal institution of marriage, along with the benefits of marriage.
Civil partnership (or same sex unions) is not recognized in Hong Kong. Under section 4 of the Marriage Reform Ordinance , marriage is defined as “the voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others…”
It is worthy to note that under the UK Civil Partnership Act of 2004, British Nationals and BNO citizens already have the right to register as civil partners, meaning Hong Kong residents holding BNO status actually possess the right to register for civil partnership under UK law. However, they cannot register for civil partnerships in Hong Kong as the HKSAR government raised “strong objections” with the British consulate-general. Therefore, despite their “citizenship”, Hong Kong people do not have the British constitutional rights within Hong Kong.