South Korea Says No To LGBTs: Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Case Of Film Director

South Korea doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. This stance was once again proved when a district court in the country rejected a lawsuit filed by a film director, who is seeking legal same-sex marriage status with his partner.

Homosexuality is legal in South Korea, but that legality doesn't extend in same-sex marriage. The country continues to be extremely conservative about sexual identity, and some South Koreans -- especially older people -- view homosexuality as a phenomenon brought by foreigners, CNN wrote.

South Korean Couple Challenges Country's Legal System

Filmmaker Kim Jho Gwang-Soo and his long-time partner, Kim Seung-Hwan, decided to challenge South Korea's ruling and held a wedding ceremony in Seoul in September 2013, the Guardian reported. A local government office, however, rejected the couple's marriage registration form.

In July 2015, the two filed a lawsuit to challenge the local authority's decision. Just this week, Seoul's western district court favored the local authority. According to the district court, same-sex union cannot be recognized as marriage because of South Korea's legal system including the constitution and civil law.

Ryu Min-Hee, the duo's lawyer, said South Korea's civil law should have a gender-neutral side that supports equal rights provisions in the constitution. Both the couple and their legal team expected the district court judge to reject the legalization of their same-sex marriage. However, the couple said they are planning to appeal against the district court's ruling, the Guardian further reported.

How South Korea's LGBT Community Fares

LGBT South Koreans typically keep their heads down due to the country's negative beliefs about homosexuality. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of South Koreans find homosexuality intolerable, as opposed to the 18 percent who are not against the LGBT community.

Kang Myeongjin, who serves as the organizer of the Korea Queer Culture Festival, or KQCF, said LGBT people cannot be openly gay in the country because there's a huge chance that they will be rejected and isolated from their families, neighborhood, workplace and society, CNN reported. Conservatives protesting against KQCF think that the pro-LGBT public displays are sinful and are bad influences for children.

Edhi Park, a transgender counselor, said South Korean schools should teach the problems LGBT people face. The country's LGBT community, however, is hopeful that South Korea's views about homosexuality will change now that the U.S. has legalized same-sex marriage. Micky Kim, a gay South Korean, said his country likes to copy American trends and may become more gay-friendly in years to come.

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