Refusal to give married same-sex Hong Kong couple public housing ‘unconstitutional’,rules High Court
The Hong Kong government’s policy of denying legally married same-sex couples the right to apply for public housing is unlawful and unconstitutional, the High Court has declared. The court on Wednesday allowed a judicial review mounted by permanent resident Nick Infinger over the Housing Authority’s decision to bar him and his husband from renting a public housing flat. Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming acknowledged the government was pursuing a legitimate aim of supporting traditional family formations through providing for their housing needs, and that public flats were highly limited. But the judge also concluded that the authority had failed to justify its differential treatment that had “resulted in an unacceptably harsh burden on same-sex couples lawfully married overseas, including the applicant”. So he quashed the authority’s decision and ordered Infinger’s application be referred back for fresh consideration with priority. The case was the first judicial challenge to affect low-income same-sex couples after the city’s LGBT community won several high-profile court cases against the government in recent years.