Advocacy group Rainbow of Macau said Wednesday it would launch a postcard campaign to encourage residents, particularly Macau’s LGBT community, to urge the government to include same-sex cohabitants on the list of couples who will be protected in its domestic violence prevention bill.
LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
Anthony Lam Ka Long, president of the group, and spokesman Jason Chao Teng Hei made the announcement outside Government Headquarters, shortly after handing in a letter addressed to Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai Man about their cause.
“We know that many LGBT people are not comfortable about openly supporting the inclusion of LGBT people in the domestic violence prevention bill, that’s why we are launching this campaign,” said Chao. “Citizens can visit our website, print it [the postcard] out and write something on the postcard and post it to Florinda Chan’s office.”
Lam also said they are aware that the drafting of the domestic violence prevention bill is close to completion and will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly (AL) soon for debate and vote. Lam said they were told that the possible inclusion of same-sex couples in the protection mechanism could mean that the bill would be “inconsistent” with relevant provisions in the Penal Code.
Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Director Iong Kong Io said earlier this year the reason for the LGTB exclusion from the bill was due to the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in Macau.
But Lam argued that Portugal included the protection of same-sex partners in its domestic violence prevention law in 2007, three years before it formally recognised same-sex marriages. He said if Portugal could do this first without acknowledging the legality of same-sex marriages, Macau should do the same since the city has inherited its legal system from Portugal.
“So if there is no conflict between the laws in Portugal and Macau is following the Portuguese legal system, we can’t see any reason why it can’t be done,” said Lam.
Chao told reporters that Chan once told him in a meeting last year that she could not support homosexuality due to her Roman-Catholic faith.
Chao reaffirmed his view that LGBT equality isa right endorsed by the United Nations (UN), urging Chan to be impartial and calling on local religious groups to debate the issue.(macaunews/macaupost)