First Gay Marriage in South Korea Causes a Stir


Photo and news source from "The Korea Times"

Photo from “The Korea Times”

Yesterday (September 7th), the marriage of two Korean males in Seoul caused a hullabaloo.

The couple, Kimjo Gwang-soo, 48, and Kim Seung-hwan, 29, are both filmmakers. Kimjo is a well-known movie director and producer in South Korea, whereas Kim is the head of a gay film distributor, Rainbow Factory. They established a movie company together and has imported movies.

Their wedding is said to be the first public gay wedding ever to take place in South Korea. No wonder it drew a lot of attention from the media and gay marriage critics.



Photo from “서울신문”

The wedding was attended by 1,000 guests including celebrities, a politician and an activist, but not everyone who came to the ceremony were there to congratulate the couple or wish them well.  A 54-year-old man, who introduced himself as a church elder, barged in, went up on the stage and threw food from a container as he was shouting, “Homosexuality is a sin! It destroys families and society!” The man was taken into police custody.

Another man, Hong Jeong-shik, head of a conservative activist group called People Saving Society, tried to intrude, but good thing, the couple’s friends were able to stop him.

Same-sex marriage is a big issue, not only in South Korea. Even in my country, the Philippines, where gays and lesbians are more tolerated, the idea of same-sex marriage generates a lot of objections, especially from religious sectors.

Photo from ”서울신문”

Homosexuality is NOT accepted in Korean society, so it is no surprise that same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in this country.

According to article 31 of the Korean Human Rights Committee Law, ”no individual is to be discriminated against on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” but if you ask Koreans what they think of gays or lesbians, you will get mostly negative reactions. My husband and his friends are some of those who just can’t stand the thought of a Korean being gay. I often get into a debate with them when we talk about gays and gay relationships. Just last night, my husband and I had another heated debate about yesterday’s first public gay wedding. Back in the Philippines, I have many gay friends and they are no different from any other people. They are normal, hardworking people who have dreams and aspirations, people they care about, values they uphold. My husband has met some of my gay friends. He isn’t rude to them. He neither likes nor dislikes them, but I would not expect him to want to hang out with them like he would with my male friends.


From Korea with Love




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Re: First Gay Marriage in South Korea Causes a Stir

Saying homosexuality is not widely accepted in Korea is quite an understatement.  It's pretty much actively ignored (if that makes sense).  Most Koreans are either opposed to it or indifferent at best.  I've even had adult students tell me that there are no gay people in Korea, that being gay is mostly a western phenomenon.  The sad thing is they were being serious.  There's such a stigma of being openly gay here most gay people just keep it really secret, so it seems like there are very few.  I tried to tell them that but they just ignorantly denied it.