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Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 not passed by Legislative Council

     The motion for the Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 to be read for the second time did not pass the Legislative Council (LegCo) today (October 22), with 11 votes in favour, 40 votes against and five votes abstaining.

     "The Administration regrets and is disappointed that the Bill is not passed by the LegCo. However, we respect the LegCo's decision and understand Members' concerns on various fronts," a Government spokesman said.

     The spokesman reiterated that the Bill aims to align the statute law with the Order made by the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) in W v Registrar of Marriages (FACV 4/2012) (the W Case) in July 2013 in a timely manner, so as to provide clear statutory protection for the marriage right enjoyed by transsexual persons who have received full sex re-assignment surgery in their re-assigned sex under the law.

     "The Administration has all along made earnest efforts in explaining the importance of early passage of the Bill to LegCo Members and members of the public on different occasions, including attending relevant Bills Committee meetings and approaching LegCo Members of different parties who may hold different views on the issue. We have explained to various LegCo Members our efforts to follow up on the CFA judgment in the W Case, including the purpose and content of the Bill, in order to lobby for their support.

     "We fully appreciate that the subject matter is complicated and controversial. In this connection, the Administration has decided to adopt a two-pronged strategy in response to the CFA judgment, which is to introduce the Bill by reflecting, without more, what has been irreversibly decided by the CFA in its Order in statute on the one hand, and to set up an Interdepartmental Working Group on Gender Recognition (IWG), chaired by the Secretary of Justice, to study issues relating to gender recognition, on the other. We consider this the most pragmatic approach which best safeguards public interest and is fully consistent with the rule of law.

     "The work of the Government on gender recognition will not end here. The IWG will continue to look into the matter carefully and will consult widely in considering legislation and incidental administrative measures that may be required to protect the rights of transsexual persons in all legal contexts and to make such recommendations for reform as may be appropriate," the spokesman said.

     The Registrar of Marriages has started to implement the CFA Order since July 17, 2014. As from that day, Miss W and other persons who have received full sex re-assignment surgery are treated by the Registrar of Marriages, for the purpose of marriage registration, as being of the sex to which they have been re-assigned after the surgery. The fact that the Bill is not passed by the LegCo will not affect their right to marry in accordance with the CFA Order.

Ends/Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:10


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