Hong Kong’s top court grants British lesbian right to spousal visa in landmark ruling

Hong Kong skyline at the peak as asia shares extend relief rally. (Bloomberg pic)

HONG KONG:  Hong Kong’s top court ruled on Wednesday that a British lesbian should be granted a spousal visa, in a landmark judgment that could open the door for expatriates’ same-sex partners to move to the financial hub.

The British woman, identified only as QT in court, sued the director of immigration in 2014 after she was denied a spousal visa that would have granted her resident status and allowed her to work without the need for a separate visa.

The woman and her partner, a dual British and South African national who was offered work in Hong Kong, had entered into a civil partnership in Britain.

The unanimous ruling by five judges brings to an end the landmark LGBT rights case that has garnered public support from more than 30 top global banks and law firms, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Marriage is legally defined as a monogamous union between a man and a woman in Hong Kong, where the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s fight for legal rights has received support from multinational companies.