Dear Straight People,
The heartbreaking case of a gay Hong Kong widower, who is being blocked by his mother-in-law from identifying his late husband’s body, is currently making its rounds on social media.
Henry Li married his late husband, Edgar Ng, in the United Kingdom in 2017.
In December 2020, Edgar took his own life after a long struggle with depression. On that fateful day, Edgar sent one last text to Henry, requesting that his ashes be scattered into the sea.
But Henry has been unable to fulfil his late husband’s final wishes, as he is not recognised as Edgar’s spouse as their marriage is not recognised in Hong Kong. Henry can only be recognised as the ‘official identifier’ if Edgar’s mother provides authorisation.
Unfortunately, Edgar’s mum has refused to do so, and wants to exclude Henry from the scattering of his late husband’s ashes. She is also demanding that he moves out of their matrimonial home and return to her all of her late son’s personal possessions.
Henry’s family was also uninvited from Edgar’s funeral mass.
LAUNCHING A LEGAL BID AGAINST THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT
Prior to his passing, Edgar had launched two judicial review proceedings fighting for equal rights for same-sex couples against the Hong Kong government.
Henry Li is now launching a legal bid against the Hong Kong government, for refusing to acknowledge him as his late husband’s spouse.
Henry’s application to the court contains the following:
“Many same-sex widows and widowers not only lost their loved ones, but they also lost their homes or the opportunity to make after-death arrangements for their loved ones, simply because the law currently does not protect LGBT+ people such as the Applicant.
In view of this, the Applicant is filing this judicial review in order to continue his husband’s legacy in pursuing LGBT+ equality in Hong Kong.”
The heartbreaking case of Henry Li illustrates why it’s important that LGBTQ+ couples are given the same rights as heterosexual couples. In a statement provided to Hong Kong Free Press, Henry sent the following text:
“[I feel] deeply hurt, but hopeful for justice to be done. When your spouse dies, you expect dignity for your spouse and yourself. You expect that you will be allowed and empowered to carry out your duties to your spouse such as identifying their body, arranging their funeral, and arranging their cremation or burial.
All of these rights are protected by law but they are denied to married same-sex couples. This kind of discrimination is not acceptable in our society.
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