Housing Discrimination Against Gay Couples Deemed Unconstitutional in Hong Kong

According to the South China Morning Post, a Judge in Hong Kong just deemed it unconstitutional for the government to deny public housing to same-sex couples.

Previously, the government had barred same-sex couples from getting public housing because it wanted to “protect traditional family formations.” The government used the excuse that the parameters for public housing units larger than single-person dwellings are for “husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild.” The government also claimed that by allowing same-sex couples to apply for public housing would hurt the chances of “traditional families” from receiving housing by adding more names to the already-crowded waiting list.

According to the SCMP, the list is quite long – With almost 152,000 families waiting for housing,
and an average wait time of 5.4 years before finally being placed. 

Pride parade in Hong Kong (Photo: John YE)

The government had one problem though. Because it never allowed same-sex couples to apply for public housing, they didn’t actually have any data to prove what kind of impact it would have on the waiting list. The judge deemed that this meant the government had insufficient evidence to prove that discrimination against same-sex couples was necessary. The judge even went one step further and claimed that a policy that excludes same-sex couples is “unlawful and unconstitutional.”

This is another big victory in Asia for LGBTQ rights and hopefully signifies that Hong Kong is moving in the right direction.

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