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Banks back expat lesbian in Hong Kong LGBT case

15 April 2018 - 00:00 By Bloomberg

More than a dozen large banks and law firms from the US, Europe and Asia are joining forces on behalf of a British lesbian in a landmark case for LGBT rights in Hong Kong.
Goldman Sachs Group, Credit Suisse Group and Nomura are among 15 financial institutions that have filed an application to intervene in the case of a woman - named in court documents as QT - who sued after the government rejected her application to reside in Hong Kong as a dependant of her same-sex partner.
Hong Kong's highest court is now considering an appeal filed by the government after a court ruled in favour of QT in September.
The banks and law firms believe "the appeal has no merit, or is based on an unequal treatment that discriminates against same-sex partners", said B Chen Zhu, Hong Kong-based counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell, acting pro bono on their behalf. "They all want to express their support for equal treatment for LGBT immigrants."
The intervention comes as foreign chambers of commerce have lobbied Hong Kong's government to accommodate the spouses of expatriate gay staff in order to maintain its position as Asia's top financial hub. Hong Kong, which doesn't recognise same-sex marriages, in 2016 started allowing same-sex spouses or civil partners of consular officials to stay in the city.
"It's a challenge for some of our members who want to bring senior staff to Hong Kong but can't because they are in same-sex relationships," Jacinta Reddan, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau, said on Thursday.
Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam said on Wednesday that the business community lobbied her on the issue, and drew comparisons to the diplomatic community.
"They were finding it increasingly difficult to post diplomats to Hong Kong if we do not have some sort of arrangement," Lam said at a Bloomberg Invest conference. "I can only say that we will have to monitor this closely."..

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