Hong Kong’s British Consulate May Allow Gay Marriage

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Jun 12, 2014
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Consul-general Caroline Wilson
Consul-general Caroline Wilson  (Source:Twitter)

It was reported earlier this week that Hong Kong’s government said it would not allow same-sex couples to marry in the city’s British consulate shortly after the British Foreign Office said gay couples in 23 countries would be allowed to tie the knot. But that may change.

According to the South China Morning Post, the British consul-general is asking the Hong Kong authorities to clarify whether gay marriages can take place at Hong Kong’s British consulate.

The consulate said Monday that the city government had "raised an objection" in allowing same-sex marriage, but government’s protocol department said Tuesday that it was up to consulate officials to decide what services they will provide.

"We will be making further inquiries with the HKSAR government regarding the potential for the consulate-general to solemnize same-sex marriages for British nationals in Hong Kong as a matter of priority," a spokeswoman for the British consulate said.

Consul-general Caroline Wilson reiterated the spokeswoman’s statements on Twitter. The newspaper reports she also favored a tweet that called for "common senses to prevail" and for Hong Kong to avoid having a "worse record than Moscow/Beijing" when it comes to LGBT rights.

In its statement Tuesday, the Hong Kong government also reaffirmed its position on promoting equal opportunities for LGBT people "with a view to eliminating discrimination and nurturing a culture of diversity, tolerance and mutual respect."

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations allows the consulates of a foreign country to act as a "notary and civil registrar and in capacities of a similar kind" in the country where it is operating.

In total, 23 countries, including Russia, Hungary, Australia, Japan, Serbia and Azerbaijan, have allowed same-sex couples to marry in British consulates.

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