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Report: A growing share of Hong Kong people support same-sex couples' rights

A growing share of Hong Kong people support same-sex couples' rights: 60 percent support same-sex marriage
Sexual Orientation Antidiscrimination Legislation: Support and Opposition (2013, 2017, 2023)* Respondents who said they “completely agree” or “somewhat agree” with sexual orientation antidiscrimination legislation were counted in this chart as supporting such legislation. Respondents who said they “completely disagree” or “somewhat disagree” with sexual orientation antidiscrimination legislation were counted in this chart as opposing such legislation. Please see Appendix 2 for exact question wording. The difference in support between 2013 and 2023 was statistically significant at p <.001. Credit: Support in Hong Kong for Same-sex Couples’ Rights Grew Over Ten Years (2013-2023): 60 Percent Now Support Same-Sex Marriage (2023).

A new report shows that Hong Kong public opinion on same-sex couples' rights has changed markedly over the past ten years. Earlier this year, 60% of Hong Kong people said they supported same-sex marriage, while only 17% said they were not supportive, and 23% were neutral. In comparison, 50.4% supported same-sex marriage in 2017, and 38% did so in 2013.

The new report is jointly issued by the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong; the Sexualities Research Program at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; and the Human Rights Law Program at the University of North Carolina School of Law. The report is based on the longest running study to track in Hong Kong concerning using representative samples.

The research was led by Holning Lau from the University of North Carolina, Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong, and Yiu Tung Suen from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The team conducted a telephone survey of Hong Kong residents in 2013, repeated the survey in 2017, and repeated it again earlier this year.

The survey asked about other issues in addition to same-sex . It found growth in support for gay men and lesbians and their rights across various domains. For example, 71% of people in 2023 said that Hong Kong should have a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination, compared with 69% in 2017 and 58% in 2013.

A remarkably small percentage of people in 2023—only 6%—disagreed with having such legislation. The share of Hong Kong people who said they were unaccepting of gay men and lesbians dropped nearly 20 percentage points between 2013 and 2023 (from 32% to 13%).

"Our study shows that support for the rights of same-sex couples has grown quite considerably in the last decade," said Suen. "The increase in support for same-sex marriage and the decrease in opposition to sexual orientation discrimination legislation are particularly striking."

Lau noted the legal and social backdrop to the survey. "A lot has changed over the past ten years. Hong Kong courts have made headlines with rulings that protect . The list of jurisdictions around the world that have legalized same-sex marriage has grown rapidly. Representation of lesbians and gay men in local and has also grown. These are some of the factors that formed the backdrop to the shifts in public opinion that we found in our research."

Still, Loper highlighted persisting discrepancies between public opinion and law: "Although 71% of Hong Kong people said they favor having a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination, and only a small proportion of people disagree, the government of Hong Kong has yet to enact such legislation. Same-sex couples also continue to be excluded from marriage, despite ."

The release of the report coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), which is observed annually on May 17.

More information: Report: … 23-FINAL-English.pdf

Citation: Report: A growing share of Hong Kong people support same-sex couples' rights (2023, May 17) retrieved 24 September 2023 from
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