In 2018, Hong Kong announced that overseas same-sex partners would qualify for the right to live and work in the city.
But there is still a long way to go for the financial hub to legalize same-sex marriage, as a valid marriage under Hong Kong law still requires a couple to be heterosexual.
“Progress was made, one step at a time,” Chan said.
“Every judicial victory comes at a great cost in terms of legal fees, time, and stress for the plaintiff… It is time to allow same-sex couples to enter into legally recognized unions in Hong Kong,” he added.
Brian Leung, chief campaigner for rights group Big Love Alliance, said: “Same-sex couples are also citizens and taxpayers, but their basic right to apply for public housing has long been suppressed and discriminated as the government chose to prioritize the right of heterosexual couples.”
The high court on the same day dismissed a legal challenge filed by Filipino Reverend Marrz Balaoro, who wants prosecutors to ensure conducting religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex ceremonies would not be a criminal offence.
Balaoro, who is transgender, was arrested in 2018 on suspicion of breaking Hong Kong’s marriage laws for officiating “Holy Union” ceremonies at the city’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight (LGBTS) Christian Church.
While LGBTQ groups have become more prominent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, conservative activists — many of them evangelical Christians — have also launched anti-rights campaigns.
Hong Kong only decriminalized homosexuality in 1991.