The British consulate in Hong Kong has been banned from performing same-sex marriages by the local government.
Under secondary same-sex marriage legislation which came into effect last week, couples can marry in 23 British consulates across the world under British law where local law prohibits same-sex marriage, including Russia and China.
The countries are Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.
However, officials at the British consulate in Hong Kong confirmed the local government had banned them from performing marriages, despite permission in mainland China, and despite Hong Kong’s large British population.
A spokesperson for the consulate told the South China Morning Post: “Unfortunately, the Hong Kong government has raised an objection to the solemnisation of same-sex marriages in Hong Kong.”
Nigel Collett, a writer who will marry his partner in the UK in August, said: “The Chinese government and the Russian government aren’t objecting, yet the Hong Kong government is still saying they don’t want this.
“They’re blocking every stage of the way to same-sex marriage, thinking if they give an inch it’ll come to pass in Hong Kong.”
Betty Grisoni, co-founder of LGBT group Double Happiness, said: “We are especially outraged by this… there’s a very strong homophobic group lobbying for this.
“Most of our friends are here, I’ve been living here for 12 years. Why can’t we get married where most of our friends are? It’s just not fair.”