The Domestic Violence Ordinance will have an amendment to include same sex couples, the Hong Kong Government have announced. However, the Government has been keen to stress that this will not mean the government will legally recognise same sex marriages or relationships in any other respect.

Following consultations, the new laws on domestic violence will remove all references to marriage or gender and refer to “cohabitation partnerships.”

But, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the Minister for Labour and Welfare said that this “will not affect the Government’s policy stance of not recognising same sex marriage, civil partnership or any same sex relationship as a matter of legal status, nor will it involve or affect other existing legislation”.

He added: “Noting that the intimate relationship between same-sex cohabitants may entail similar special power interface, dynamics and risk factors as in the relationship between heterosexual cohabitants, and that violence incidents can quickly escalate into life-threatening situations or even fatality, we propose to extend the scope of the Domestic Violence Ordinance from covering only heterosexual cohabitants to include also same-sex cohabitants.”

The Government last August extended the scope of the law to include former spouses, former heterosexual cohabitants and other immediate and extended family members.