A British lesbian who is not allowed to work and has to leave her wife every six months has received support for her legal challenge from 12 huge financial institutions.
Hong Kong’s government has refused to recognise the civil partnership which a lesbian couple known only as SS and QT attained in Britain.
SS would be allowed to bring a husband on a spousal visa, but because their union is not recognised under Hong Kong law, immigration authorities in the former British colony have repeatedly rejected QT’s spousal visa application.
The pair moved to Hong Kong in 2011 after SS was offered a professional job in the city, but QT is unable to find employment on her tourist visa.
She also can’t get a bank account or identity card and must leave the city every six months, meaning she is unable to carve out any sort of life that’s her own.
The women lost their case at the High Court last year.
They are now appealing, with QT arguing the decision was discriminatory and goes against to the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance.
Between them, these two statutes hold that all Hong Kong residents shall have civil, legal and political equality.
Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are among the dozen multinational companies who plan to submit their formal support for the pair’s case to Court of Appeals, the South China Morning Post has reported.
The institutions plan to explain in the letter that it makes economic sense to help same-sex couples and thus ensure that Hong Kong keeps attracting talent.
South China Morning Post’s source told the publication: “It will probably be the first time for non-NGOs to intervene and give the court their ideas.
“And more importantly, this time, it is from the financial sector, which creates the most money for the Hong Kong economy.
“It is more than a civil rights issue. Now, it is also a business issue.”
The court will now decide whether or not to consider the submission as part of the appeal, which is set to be heard next week.
Though this month has seen progress for LGBT rights in Hong Kong with the news that a ban on gay men donating blood in Hong Kong may soon be lifted, progress is limited.
In December, charities in Hong Kong revealed that the city’s authorities are still recommending so-called ‘gay cure’ therapy to vulnerable youths.
This was just weeks after thousands rallied for equal rights in the city.