M557 – Motion on performing same-sex marriages in the Consulate-General in Hong Kong Watch

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Andrew97
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M557 – Motion on performing same-sex marriages in the Consulate-General in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, TSR Conservative and Unionist Party

This House notes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has started allowing all diplomatic missions to perform same-sex marriages for British nationals abroad since June 20141, provided that the country where the office locates in does not object to it2.

This House notes that the People's Republic of China has indicated that they do not object to such a practice1, and that the Embassy in China and its subordinate consulates perform same-sex marriages for British nationals.

This House notes that same-sex marriages are currently also performed in the diplomatic missions in the Macao Special Administrative Region and the province of Taiwan1.

This House notes that the sovereignty of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is currently with the People's Republic of China. This House notes that in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was declared that: "The [HKSAR] will be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government of the [PRC and] will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs."3

This House notes that the constitutional document Basic Law of Hong Kong stated in Article 13, that: "The Central People's Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

This House notes that the Consulate-General of the Kingdom of Spain in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been performing same-sex marriages.5

This House notes that the Consulate-General in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region also serves Macao Special Administrative Region, whose regional government has not expressed an objection.6

This House believes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should respect the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and ignores the diplomatic note unconstitutionally issued by the city's former chief executive, British citizen, CY Leung. This House urges the Consulate-General in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to start performing same-sex marriages for British nationals, as is permitted by the government of the People's Republic of China, with full respect to the Sino-British Joint Declaration as well as Hong Kong's own constitutional document.

Notes: 1https://www.theguardian.com/society/...tish-consulate
2https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/...1412090918.htm
3https://www.cmab.gov.hk/en/issues/jd2.htm
4https://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basic...chapter_2.html
5https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1528231/uk-diplomatic-missions-allow-same-sex-marriages-not-hong-kong
6https://www.gov.uk/world/organisatio...eral-hong-kong

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04MR17
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I wonder who wrote this.:teehee:

Nice to finally see another Conservative item on the floor, I suppose.
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Rakas21
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Mr Speaker, this has my full support.
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barnetlad
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Isn't a diplomatic mission foreign soil? Protected by the Vienna Convention? Should we just be performing same sex marriage in all embassies regardless of the law of the host country?
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SoggyCabbages
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You must respect the laws of where you are.
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Saracen's Fez
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No prizes for guessing whose this is...

It's not clear what the issue is – has the Hong Kong government objected to this?
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
No prizes for guessing whose this is...

It's not clear what the issue is – has the Hong Kong government objected to this?
This is exactly what I was thinking.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by 04MR17)
I wonder who wrote this.:teehee:

Nice to finally see another Conservative item on the floor, I suppose.
There's another one coming tomorrow, if things go smoothly.
(Original post by barnetlad)
Isn't a diplomatic mission foreign soil? Protected by the Vienna Convention? Should we just be performing same sex marriage in all embassies regardless of the law of the host country?
Yes, this is in accordance with international law and convention. The diplomatic missions would perform the ceremonies for British nationals only, and only within the territories of the missions.

As stated in the motion, the foreign missions in mainland China and Taiwan are all performing gay marriage now. If Macao had one, it would've been performed there as well.

The Spanish consulate is an example of a mission in Hong Kong that is performing gay marriage.

UK laws do apply on diplomatic soil, regardless of this.
(Original post by SoggyCabbages)
You must respect the laws of where you are.
Where they are are in the UK, as this concerns only within the grounds of the diplomatic mission.

The government of the People's Republic of China has permitted it.
(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
No prizes for guessing whose this is...

It's not clear what the issue is – has the Hong Kong government objected to this?
The motion actually mentioned that - the former Chief Executive issued a diplomatic note against it. Nevertheless, as a city within the People's Republic of China, and a piece of land that has been an inalienable and sacred part of China since the beginning of time, should we not follow the wishes of the Chinese government instead?

The Chinese government has no objection and foreign missions in mainland China do perform gay marriage.

The Hong Kong government has no legal or constitutional right to issue a diplomatic note, as the Basic Law, the relevant Chinese laws on special administrative regions, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration all stated that diplomatic affairs are handled by the central government of the People's Republic of China, not the regional government of Hong Kong, a mere city which belongs to China forever.

We must not challenge the one country part of the arrangement, and should respect the sovereignty and authority of the Chinese government over a regional government in one of its cities.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
This is exactly what I was thinking.
See my response above.
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LiberOfLondon
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Abstain.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
The motion actually mentioned that - the former Chief Executive issued a diplomatic note against it. Nevertheless, as a city within the People's Republic of China, and a piece of land that has been an inalienable and sacred part of China since the beginning of time, should we not follow the wishes of the Chinese government instead?

The Chinese government has no objection and foreign missions in mainland China do perform gay marriage.

The Hong Kong government has no legal or constitutional right to issue a diplomatic note, as the Basic Law, the relevant Chinese laws on special administrative regions, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration all stated that diplomatic affairs are handled by the central government of the People's Republic of China, not the regional government of Hong Kong, a mere city which belongs to China forever.

We must not challenge the one country part of the arrangement, and should respect the sovereignty and authority of the Chinese government over a regional government in one of its cities.
In principle, yes. Though unless you've undergone some sort of Damascene conversion I'm looking forward to quoting some of these words back to you in the future next time you ask a question on Hong Kong.
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Joleee
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so basically this motion is about support for schedule 6 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which states a marriage licence will only be issued in a consular if the host country does not object. an excellent example of parliamentary sovereignty btw.

for practical reasons i support the current law. i just don't see how it would work any other way in terms of preserving international relations.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
The motion actually mentioned that - the former Chief Executive issued a diplomatic note against it. Nevertheless, as a city within the People's Republic of China, and a piece of land that has been an inalienable and sacred part of China since the beginning of time, should we not follow the wishes of the Chinese government instead?

The Chinese government has no objection and foreign missions in mainland China do perform gay marriage.

The Hong Kong government has no legal or constitutional right to issue a diplomatic note, as the Basic Law, the relevant Chinese laws on special administrative regions, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration all stated that diplomatic affairs are handled by the central government of the People's Republic of China, not the regional government of Hong Kong, a mere city which belongs to China forever.

We must not challenge the one country part of the arrangement, and should respect the sovereignty and authority of the Chinese government over a regional government in one of its cities.
I'm not entirely sure it would be wise to try and make Hong Kong bow to the will of China on this or any matter at the moment!
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
In principle, yes. Though unless you've undergone some sort of Damascene conversion I'm looking forward to quoting some of these words back to you in the future next time you ask a question on Hong Kong.
I don't see why we should allow the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to reap all the benefits of claiming to be one country while not actually being bounded by it when it comes to things some may not like. The Hong Kong government would say they have no power to deal with diplomatic staff when things like a British consular officer gets detained, but somehow we should recognize a diplomatic order issued from them, that contradicts the one from China?

And like I said, Spain is already performing gay marriage ceremonies.

The Hong Kong consulate is also responsible for Macao. The Macanese government didn't object to it and now British nationals in Macao also loses the right to get gay married in the Consulate-General. Is that right?

Why does the Hong Kong government's illegal and unconstitutional note trump the Chinese, Macanese, and Taiwanese governments'?
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Joleee)
so basically this motion is about support for schedule 6 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which states a marriage licence will only be issued in a consular if the host country does not object. an excellent example of parliamentary sovereignty btw.

for practical reasons i support the current law. i just don't see how it would work any other way in terms of preserving international relations.
This is in line with the current law. The host country is China, and China doesn't object to it. Hong Kong is not a country according to its own government, according to China, and according to our government.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I'm not entirely sure it would be wise to try and make Hong Kong bow to the will of China on this or any matter at the moment!
The Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration both stated that Hong Kong does not have the right to handle foreign affairs. Their objection was done in a diplomatic channel and this is a foreign affair.

Not to mention the Hong Kong government is already subordinate to the Chinese government. They are wholly appointed by China and have no democratic mandate. This is not a Taiwan situation.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
The Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration both stated that Hong Kong does not have the right to handle foreign affairs. Their objection was done in a diplomatic channel and this is a foreign affair.

Not to mention the Hong Kong government is already subordinate to the Chinese government. They are wholly appointed by China and have no democratic mandate. This is not a Taiwan situation.
Could a request be made to the person currently in the position of the person who issued the diplomatic note to deal with this matter?
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Joleee
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
This is in line with the current law. The host country is China, and China doesn't object to it. Hong Kong is not a country according to its own government, according to China, and according to our government.
the statute says 'country or territory...will not object to the marriage'. i just cba to get that specific
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
Could a request be made to the person currently in the position of the person who issued the diplomatic note to deal with this matter?
That is the least we should do, as the administration has already changed.

But should the UK government deal with Hong Kong is what is purely a diplomatic issue, when China has already dealt with it? The other minimum would be to allow residents of Macau who are British nationals to enjoy gay marriage in the Consulate-General, as their government doesn't object to it either, if not also for British residents of Taiwan. The argument to follow the note from the Hong Kong government doesn't work Hong Kong isn't the host country. Or a country.

What is the legal basis for the FCO to accept that diplomatic note in the first place? From my understanding, it's against British, Chinese, and Hong Kong laws, against the mutually binded Joint Declaration, and against Hong Kong's constitutional document.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Joleee)
the statute says 'country or territory...will not object to the marriage'. i just cba to get that specific
That is for territories that are de facto independent but we do not recognize them as such, such as Taiwan.

If the Tibetan government in exile or the Shanghai government objects to it, the diplomatic missions in the areas are not going to entertain those requests. Hong Kong's government is officially and in practice under the People's Republic of China and in this very case, they have the constitutional document Basic Law and we have the legally-binded Joint Declaration to follow, and both say Hong Kong has no business dealing with diplomatic issues.
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