Sixty per cent of Hong Kong people now agree with same-sex marriage, according to a joint study published by three universities on Wednesday, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Hong Kong.

LGBT gay rights flag rainbow
An LGBT flag. File photo: Rob Maxwell.

The new report was jointly issued by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law of HKU; the Sexualities Research Programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) ; and the Human Rights Law Program at the University of North Carolina School of Law. 

The telephone survey has been conducted in 2013, 2017, and 2023. In this year’s poll, the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey (CCPOS) at CUHK questioned 1,551 Hong Kong residents aged 18 and over between January and February, 2023.

“It [is] the longest running research project to track public opinion concerning same-sex marriage using representative samples of Hong Kong residents,” the report said.

LGBT Statistics
Between 2013 and 2023, there was a statistically significant increase in the percentage of people who favoured extending rights to same-sex couples in each of these issue areas. Photo: report screenshot.

The report said that, by 2023, 60 per cent of residents surveyed agreed with same-sex marriage; only 17 per cent said they did not support it, whilst 23 per cent were neutral. Meanwhile, in 2013 and 2017, only 38 per cent and 50.4 per cent of people expressed agreement with same-sex marriage respectively.

Equal rights

The survey also asked about same-sex couples’ rights in connection to issues including hospital visitation rights, housing discrimination, fatal accidents, and property inheritance.

In 2023, 85 per cent of Hong Kong people surveyed said that same-sex couples should have some, or all of the rights, enjoyed by different-sex couples, up from 73 per cent in 2013 and 78 per cent in 2017.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent of respondents in 2023 said that Hong Kong should have a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination, compared with 58 per cent in 2013 and 69 per cent in 2017.

LGBT gay rights
File photo: Elyssa Fahndrich.

“Over the past ten years, the share of Hong Kong people who favour protecting gay and lesbian rights has grown markedly,” the report said.

IDAHOT is observed annually on May 17 to draw attention to violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

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Mandy Cheng is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. Previously, she worked at Ming Pao, focusing on investigative and feature reporting. She also contributed to Cable TV and others.