Dear Lulu Jeh: I’m a guy, engaged to a guy, but it doesn’t really mean anything in Hong Kong. We can’t get married legally so it doesn’t feel real. I know we’re both committed, but I wish there were a way to make it legitimate. — Engaged to a Dream
This is seriously shitty, ETAD. There is no good reason why you can’t get married legally in Hong Kong, but since the government hasn’t caught up with modern times you might have to take matters into your own hands.
You CAN get married in spirit — it might not grant you legal rights, such as spousal visas or tax benefits, but there’s no law saying that you can’t celebrate your commitment to each other in a formal and personal way. It’s not the same, I know, but the essence of marriage can be upheld: partnership, commitment, and family.
If one of you has citizenship (or in some cases, just has proof of residence) in a country that recognizes same-sex marriage, then you can look into the legality of getting married there instead. Hong Kong sadly still won’t recognize your marriage, but it might give you the peace of mind you need for the time being.
Alternatively, I hear that foreigners can travel to Las Vegas and get hitched — with relatively easy requirements. Check into it yourself of course, but planning a destination wedding could make a bonding and genuinely fun thing to do together, as well as make for a memorable big day.
I’m sorry I can’t be of more help on this one, but hope you can celebrate and honor your relationship in a way that’s meaningful to you both. In the meantime, let’s all make an effort to push Hong Kong towards a more inclusive future. — Lulu
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