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Hong Kong Won’t Let Gay Couples Marry at British Consulate

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Jun 9, 2014
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Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents marched Monday in a downtown street during an annual pro-democracy protest.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents marched Monday in a downtown street during an annual pro-democracy protest.  (Source:AP Photo)

Hong Kong’s government said this week it would not allow same-sex couples to marry in the city’s British consulate just days after the British Foreign Office announced gay couples in 23 countries, including Russia, would be allowed to tie the knot in the countries’ consulates, the Guardian reports.

Last week, officials from the British Foreign Office revealed that it would allow its overseas missions to hold same-sex marriage for Britons and their partners in countries that ban gay marriage under local laws. But, as the Guardian reports, the service needed the approval of local authorities.

"Before the U.K. 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. "Unfortunately, the Hong Kong government has raised an objection to the solemnization of same-sex marriages in Hong Kong."

Though Hong Kong’s government did not give their consent, a number of other countries, known for their anti-gay records, gave the green light. Russia, China, the Philippines, and Azerbaijan will allow gay couples to marry in British consulates.

The LGBT community in Hong Kong is not happy with the government’s decision. Nigel Collett, the secretary for gay rights group Pink Alliance, accused the government of "denying any form of increase of rights" for gay people in Hong Kong.

"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.

More than 20 countries where gay marriage is illegal are allowing same-sex couples to marry at British consulates, including Australia, Japan, Chile, Serbia and Bolivia.

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