Marrz Balaoro, a transgender pastor at a small Hong Kong church which is open to all sexualities and marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples, is taking the battle to the courts.
Though there’s already growing support for these kinds of marriages in the international financial hub, Hong Kong follows pro-Beijing governments and religious conservatives making it really tough to consider and accept same-sex marriages.
Filipino Reverend Balaoro argues at the city’s High Court for his congregation’s freedom to worship is still being trampled over the city’s ban against same-sex marriages.
“All we ask for is to be allowed to worship and practice our religious faith in the eyes of God, free from the threat of persecution,” saysBalaoro.
Balaoro, who was a domestic helper in Hong Kong since he arrived in 1981 knows that his battle is way too tough. The 62-year-old pastor was arrested in 2017 over the alleged breaking of Hong Kong’s marriage laws as he officiated “Holy Union” between members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi sexual, Transgender, and Straight (LGBTS) community.
This “Holy Union” gives religious blessings to same-sex couples but do not have any legal weight and the case against Balaoro was eventually dropped.
Balaoro says that gay domestic workers are often facing discrimination from other churches.
“The support we need is to defend us, to support our cause, to respect our gender identity. That’s what matters to us,” he says