Tag Archives: South Korean

Couple Bring Korea’s First Ever Equal Marriage Lawsuit to Court

Korea’s first married gay couple, Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan, have taken court action to get their marriage legally recognised.

Kim-Jho, 50, a movie director, and Kim, 31, CEO of film production company Rainbow Factory, launched their challenge in the Seoul Western District Court on Monday. The couple, who wed in September 2013, have filed a suit against the Seodaemun-gu district office for refusing to register the marriage.

The lawsuit, which was heard behind closed doors in the Seoul Western District Court, hopes to build on the momentum of the US Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling two weeks ago.

Kim-Jho said on her Facebook page Monday

Today might be an important giant step for not just me and Kim but all LGBTs in the nation,”. “I hope the court proves today the first clause of Article 11 in the constitution — which states that all citizens are equal under the law — is effective and not limited to the constitutional meaning.”

The couple were the first to hold a public wedding in the Asian nation, where same-sex marriage remains a taboo.

Knowing their application would be rejected, after a public wedding ceremony in September 2013, the couple submitted their marriage licences to the Seodaemun District Office.

According to the office, the constitution of Korea only recognises opposite-sex couple.

The couple called the rejection of their application “utterly groundless”, and challenged the court to recognise same-sex marriage.

They walked into the court hand-in-hand on Monday, wearing rainbow badges.

They said Monday was “a crucial day” for Korea.

However the country may have quite a way to go. Its Military Criminal Act makes homosexuality illegal, and those found guilty can face up to two years in prison.

South Korean TV Channel Features First lesbian Kiss, But Sadly It Creates Controversy

Popular TV high school drama, Seonam Girls High School Investigators, featured a storyline, which resulted in two students sharing a kiss.


The scene aired last week, but since then it has drawn criticism from in the conservative Asian country.

SKTV-lesbian-Kissing-03 SKTV-lesbian-Kissing-01

South Korean’s conservative roots are quickly shifting to include more civil liberties, however, the Korea Communications Standards Commission received complaints after the show aired on TV – and the broadcast regulator has now pledged to investigate whether the moment violated regulations.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission said:

“We will decide whether this is an issue after we look into it, and whether there is any violation of broadcast policy.”

The creators of the show have defended the kiss as “necessary to the plot”. And in recent years, the country’s TV drama industry has tried to include more culturally-sensitive social issues, including gay characters and teenage pregnancy.

There was also a kissing scene earlier this month between two men in the drama, Kill Me, Heal Me.

Same-sex relationships are legal in South Korea, but same-sex unions aren’t recognised in the country. Few public figures are openly gay. Last September, two men were South Korea’s first same-sex couple to get married. Through a legal challenge, the couple, Kim Jho Kwang-Soo and Kim Seung-Hwan, hopes to make their country a leader of marriage equality in Asia.

Attitudes about same-sex conduct have changed South Korea in recent years, according to the Pew Research Center. South Korean views have shifted considerably since 2007, when 77% of respondents polled said same-sex conduct should be rejected and only 18% approved of it. But two years ago, 39% of residents said they accepted gay individuals.


South Korean LGBT Activists Gain Victory After Seoul Mayor Agree to Address Discrimination

South Korean LGBT Activists gain an historic victory, as the mayor of Seoul apologised for failing to proclaim a new civil rights charter that includes LGBT protections, and has agreed to establish a panel to discuss ways to end discrimination.

The LGBT coalition group called Rainbow Action, decided to end a six-day sit-in at Seoul City Hall after meeting with Mayor Park Won-Soon.

The sit-in began when Won-Soon and the Seoul Municipal Government declined to proclaim the charter on World Human Rights Day as originally scheduled, saying the LGBT protections had caused “social conflict.”


The Rainbow Action coalition alleged Won-Soon, a former human rights attorney who recently expressed support for same-sex marriage, had caved to pressure from South Korea’s powerful right-wing religious lobby.

“It is my responsibility and fault. I am sorry for the emotional pain that you have suffered and will make whatever statements that you demand. 

This is an occasion for me to offer comfort for the emotional pain that you have suffered and to apologize to you” and, “regardless of any misunderstanding or statement, no citizen will be subjected to discrimination or disadvantage. I will search for practical ways of resolving the difficulties that you suffer from.” 

Mayor Park Won-Soon

Throughout the 6-day-long sit-in, the protesters were showered with support from both home and abroad. Indeed, over 300 NGOs including those for human rights, people with disability, women, civil society, laborers, and other minorities provided signatures of support in just one day. In addition, moving messages of support poured in from LGBT rights activist groups, major figures, and grassroots organizations overseas. Furthermore, countless people visited the City Hall and joined the cultural festival held every evening by the protesters.

Through the sit-in, South Korean sexual minorities showed that the government and hate-mongers alike may not thoughtlessly disregard their rightful demand and movement for full social citizenship. The sit-in also served as an occasion for LGBT people in the nation to have more self-confidence and to confirm the future direction of their continued fight for justice and equality. The protesters are deeply grateful to friends and allies around the globe for their solidarity.