Here’s the Pink Alliance’s reaction to the Hong Kong Chief Executives’ policy address of 16 January 2012, which ruled out public consultation on a bill against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Pink Alliance will continue to fight for the bill, in conjunction with Cyd Ho’s Big Love and in cooperation with all LGBT groups in Hong Kong.
EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED OVER GOVERNMENT STONEWALLING
The Pink Alliance is extremely disappointed that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying failed to take the initiative to start consulting the public on enacting a law to protect sexual minorities from discrimination.
“It’s been 17 years the Legislative Council last debated an anti-discrimination bill. The need to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is long overdue.” said Reggie Ho, chair of Pink Alliance. “But now, the government doesn’t even answer to the call for a public consultation on the matter – that is totally unacceptable, and an affront to the dignity of the LGBT citizens.”
Hong Kong’s LGBT citizens are only asking for equal rights and equal treatment. The continued denial of equal protection of the law is a grave injustice to the sexual minorities living in this city. These people are no different than other law-abiding citizens; they pay taxes and make significant contributions to the arts, science, technology, business and many other areas.
Added Ho: “LGBT people can be your neighbours, friends, relatives or family members. Isn’t it a slap in the face of justice to relegate them as second-class citizens simply because of who they are attracted to?”
“Mr. Leung cited an opinion that a public consultation could deal a blow to family, religion and education as the reason to not move forward. I think that notion is misguided. A public consultation is meant to serve as a platform for all sides to air their views and concerns, so that the government can address them.”
Experiences from other jurisdictions indicate that an anti-discrimination law will bring salutary effects to the society, as this sends out a clear message that hatred and bigotry have no place in any society that champions progressive values.
“In free society people are allowed to have different opinions, but they should also enjoy equal rights; that’s what this is about.”
We call upon the government to revisit the issue as soon as possible, and launch a public consultation without further delay. We also want to emphasise that anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. We can build a truly inclusive society if all parties are willing to put aside their prejudices and come up with solutions that are fair, just and reasonable.