Government lawyers in a landmark Hong Kong court case argued allowing same-sex couples to wed would leave marriage ‘no longer special’ and ‘diluted and diminished’.

A lesbian woman, known as MK, is arguing in the High Court that preventing her from forming a partnership contravenes her rights to equality and privacy.

But, on Wednesday (29 May) government lawyer Stuart Wong said: ‘Not all differences in treatment are unlawful. You are not supposed to treat unequal cases alike’.

Wong also dismissed calls for same-sex civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage,

‘To recognize an alternative form of same-sex relationships which we say is tantamount to a (marriage) is to undermine the traditional institution of marriage and the family constituted by such a marriage’ he also argued.

Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nor is there any anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI people.

The landmark court case comes as neighboring Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

MK’s barristers said on Tuesday it was ‘now or never’ for marriage equality in Hong Kong.

Lawyers likened the government definition of marriage to a ‘private members’ club’ limited to heterosexual couples.

Newly-formed activist gorup, Hong Kong Marriage Equality (HKME) on Wednesday said ‘marriage equality doesn’t make Marriage less special, it makes it even stronger’.

‘That’s what the opposers don’t understand. We are making it our mission to help them come around.’

Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nor is there any anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI people.

But, after a landmark court ruling in July last year, Hong Kong does recognize overseas same-sex unions when granting spousal visas.

The MK case is one of three same-sex union cases currently in the courts.

Immigration officer , who married his husband in New Zealand five years ago, sued the government in 2015.

The government had refused to recognize his marital status and grant his husband benefits such as medical insurance.

Hong Kong’s top court is now c and is expected rule in the next few months.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old student, known as TF, and a 31-year-old activist, known as STK, are leading marriage equality challenges.

The men argue that government policy violates their right to equality.

What’s more, last month, renowned lesbian heiress, Gigi Chao launched a new group,

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