Hong Kong court reverses landmark LGBT+ spousal benefits ruling

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal has ruled that the husband of a civil servant is not entitled to spousal benefits, overturning a landmark lower court decision from April 2017.

Angus Leung Chun-kwong (pictured above center, with his solicitor Mark Daly at right), a senior immigration officer, filed a judicial review in 2015 against the Hong Kong government after it denied his spouse dental and medical benefits and refused the couple joint tax assessment. The lower court’s 2017 ruling held that the couple were entitled to spousal benefits but rejected their bid for joint assessment.

Court of Appeal Judge Jeremy Poon wrote on Friday, “If spousal benefits and joint assessment, which have been long associated closely and exclusively with marriage, were made available to homosexual couples, it would per se undermine, or be perceived by many to undermine, the status of marriage”.

Leung, who spoke at Out Leadership’s 2017 Summit in Asia, said he and his husband are “deeply disappointed” and considering an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong’s top court.

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