Hong Kong Denies Britons the Ability to Marry at British Consulate

Hong Kong has forbidden the British consulate from performing same-sex marriages of British citizens and their partners at the British consulate. The decision comes in response to a new measure by the British Foreign Office allowing the marriages of gay Britons in the consulates of foreign countries where same-sex marriage is currently illegal. 

Agence France Presse reports: Hongkong

"Before the UK legislation that governs same-sex marriages was implemented earlier this month, we asked the Hong Kong government for their agreement to perform such ceremonies here," a spokesperson for the British consulate general said in a statement.

Hong Kong's LGBT activists expressed outrage at their government's decision. Nigel Collett, secretary for gay rights group Pink Alliance, accused the government of "denying any form of increase of rights" for gay people in the city-state.

"Hong Kong is making a fool of itself while Moscow and Beijing have taken a more sensible view for something that does not concern their citizens," he said.

Other countries where Britons can get married in their consulate include 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.


  1. wineboi says

    such a disgrace! hong kong is not what it used to be – do not be fooled by its claim to be a “world city” (don’t know what that means anyway) … ever since it was returned to china, it has been on a road of continued recession. kudos to other cities around the region like Taipei which are so much more progressive when it comes to gay rights!

  2. Vilhelm says

    The commentators above missed the point. If you read the last line it shows that UK citizens can get married in the British consulates/embassy in China, but not the Hong Kong consulate. This is a Hong Kong government decision since Hong Kong retains a separate immigration system than China.

  3. simon says

    As others have pointed, how can Hong Kong government prevent British citizens marrying in the British consulate? It is a British territory and not governed by Hong Kong laws. There have been Chinese dissidents hiding in American embassy in China to avoid persecution.
    They all got asylum in the U.S. The question is how can they stop the ceremony since entry by police violates international laws. They can’t do anything after that since they are British citizens and did not violate any Hong Kong laws.
    If it am not mistaken, it is just a diplomatic courtesy for UK to ask for the consent of Hong Kong government. They don’t have to. It is within their jurisdiction to do anything short of blowing up the building.
    If they are to go ahead and ignore Hong Kong objection, the only consequence is the souring of relation between the two governments.

  4. WOLF says

    Okay….but, Vilhelm, the question still remains: how can Hong Kong tell a British consulate what they can or cannot do as sovereign British soil?

  5. Randy says

    Woodroad34, technically all embassies and consulates are still part of the host country. It is only through polite agreement that host countries treat them as though they were on foreign soil.

    In this case, since Hong Kong is violating this polite agreement, I would expect their embassy and/or consulate in the UK (and perhaps other equality countries like Canada) to experience some retaliation for this unusual level of bigotry.

  6. simon says

    How can you explain some Chinese dissidents going into US embassy to seek asylum? If your “theory” is correct, China can simply send police into the embassy to arrest the dissidents. It has nothing to do with “politeness”. It all has to do with international laws and agreements. China regarded these people as criminals. I don’t see why they have to be “polite”.

  7. simon says

    Regardless of any international agreements, what British nationals can do is to take the trains to south of China in a few hours. If you want to have a lifelong commitment with your partner, few hours travel is not too much of an inconvenience.

  8. Howard B says

    Maybe this is an oversight, but conspicuously absent from this article is any mention of the USA. I assume the US is okay with this but does anyone know for sure?

  9. Jackster says

    Most U. K. consulates in the USA are in states where marriage is legal; however, I think the point is that the U. K. is doing this in countries that don’t recognize same sex marriages, which the American FEDERAL government does.

  10. simon says

    Yes it is important US government will speak out. US is both a military and economic power in the region. May be if they ask Bill Gates or Tim Cook to intervene, Hong Kong government may listen. Even better they can speak to their master, China which has tremendous influence in Hong Kong. There is no way the Hong Kong chief executive will resist Chinese leaders who basically appointed him.

  11. simon says

    In the colonial era, the British played a large part in pushing Hong Kong to decriminalize homosexuality. If they were still a colony, they probably will allow gay marriage themselves.

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