A British lesbian will not be granted a spousal visa to allow her to live with her wife, after a court rejected her challenge.
The woman, who is known only as QT for legal reasons, is married under UK law to SS, with whom she first got a civil partnership in 2011.
The pair found themselves facing discrimination when SS relocated tong for work – which would usually allow SS to bring a husband on a spousal visa.
But as they are a same-sex couple and their marriage is not recognised under Hong Kong law, immigration authorities in the former British colony repeatedly rejected QT’s spousal visa application.
Without the correct visa to reside in the country, QT could only travel there on a tourist visa, which does not permit her to work.
QT took her battle to the country’s High Court, and a number of major businesses backed the couple in their case.
However, Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung ruled that the concept of “spouse” in other countries is not necessarily valid in Hong Kong, where it is defined as between a man and woman.
Vidler & Co. Solicitors, which represented the couple in the case, explained in a statement: “After a long nine month wait, the High Court has today handed down a judgment against QT’s judicial review of the Immigration Department’s policy refusing to recognise foreign registered same sex marriages.
“This decision, whilst disappointing, is not altogether unexpected.
“Experience has shown us with previous LGBTI cases (the W case being the most recent) that we often have to turn to the Court of Appeal or even the Court of Final Appeal for a correct judgment.”
“QT is a strong young woman who is determined to continue the fight to ensure that all people who have shown their love for one another by registering a civil partnership or marriage, are treated equally by the HK government, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
“She intends to appeal.”