A Hong Kong lawmaker has claimed that people in the United States and United Kingdom are becoming gay because of the introduction of same-sex marriage.
The claim comes from Dominic Lee, a conservative Liberal Party councillor and spokesperson for the group Ban Gay Marriage HK.
Speaking at a forum on LGBT rights, the lawmaker warned that recognising same-sex unions in Hong Kong would open a Pandora’s Box.
A British woman recently won a legal battle to have her same-sex marriage recognised in the autonomous region of China, permitting her to apply for a spousal visa as her wife is from Hong Kong.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Lee warned that recognising same-sex unions could make more people gay.
He said: “There are statistics, in the US – the top 10 states with greatest proportion of [people who are] LGBTQ are also states where same-sex marriage was legal for the longest.
“In the UK, some places after they legalised same-sex marriage, there is an increase in number of people who say they are LGBTQ.”
He added: “If [the courts] recognise the status of same-sex couples, that will grant them rights in Hong Kong such as the right to education. That coerces the government, as well as taxpayers who don’t accept same-sex marriage, to recognise their relationship.
“It expanded the definition of spouse – from spouses of opposite sex to spouses of the same sex.”
Hong Kong currently does not recognise same-sex relationships.
However a report last week (July 3) revealed that there is majority support for same-sex marriage in the region.
According to the new research, published by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, 50.4 percent of Hong Kong residents “expressed agreement” with gay couples tying the knot.
This marks a significant shift in public opinion, with a 2013 survey finding that just 38 percent supported same-sex marriage.
78 percent now believe said that same-sex couples should have “at least some of the rights” of heterosexual couples, compared to 73 percent in 2013.
69 percent believe there should be a law to protect citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation – up from 58 percent in 2013.
Professor Yiu-tung Suen from the Chinese University of Hong Kong said: “Our study shows that support for the rights of same-sex couples has grown markedly over a short period. A few years’ time has made a significant difference.”
Professor Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong added: “Our study also illuminates a discrepancy between law and public opinion.
“While 69 percent of Hong Kong people said they favour having a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination, the government of Hong Kong has yet to enact such legislation.”