By Jerome Yau
Marriage is a prominent and cherished institution in human society. Across different cultures and civilisations, marriage is the ultimate expression of love and fidelity. It enriches society and serves as the foundation for a family.
Same-sex marriage is nothing new. Records of same-sex unions can be found in Eastern and Western literature. Twenty-nine years ago, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. Today, 28 countries and territories say yes to marriage equality and the list is growing. Society hasn’t crumbled in those places: Armageddon wouldn’t happen if Hong Kong were to legalise same-sex marriage today.
Marriage – whether gay or straight – benefits society.
It cultivates and enhances a stable and loving relationship. It is ludicrous to suggest that promoting stable and loving same-sex relationships is bad for society.
A strong relationship means better mental and physical well-being. Research has shown that a loving relationship translates into better stress management, longer life expectancy, increased self-esteem and a happier life. In fact, numerous studies have shown that a happy marriage is good for one’s cardiovascular health. As such, it is a no-brainer to extend marriage to same-sex couples.
Marriage is best for raising children, and gay couples raise children, too! A comprehensive study published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2017 concluded that children raised by same-sex couple households do as well as children raised by straight parents. By recognizing same-sex relationships, we are also safeguarding the interests of children raised by same-sex couples.
Marriage equality is a boon to the economy. According to a report published by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in May 2020, the economic impact of marriage equality in the United States since the 2015 Obergefell decision has been staggering. Activities generated by same-sex weddings have “boosted state and local economies by an estimated US$3.8 billion” and they have “generated an estimated US$244.1 million in state and local sales tax revenue.”
All these factors promote social stability and help society to thrive.
Hong Kong people are smart and intelligent. A majority have already told local researchers that the city is ready for same-sex unions. Taiwan has done it, and Thailand will do it soon. There are no reasons for Hong Kong to lag behind.
All we need is courage and leadership from all quarters in society. Marriage equality is a human issue; same-sex couples should be allowed to marry who they love, right now!
Jerome Yau is a co-founder of Hong Kong Marriage Equality.
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