The Korea Herald


Court dismisses same-sex marriage appeal

By 임정요

Published : May 25, 2016 - 15:49

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A South Korean court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by two male filmmakers to legally recognize their marriage, saying that same-sex marriage cannot be accepted without due "legislative" action.

Kim Chokwangsu and Kim Seung-hwan tied the knot in a public wedding in September 2013 but are still seeking to get legal status as the country does not recognize same-sex marriages.

They submitted a report of marriage to a Seoul district office, but it was denied by the office on the grounds that "same-sex marriage does not satisfy the definition of husband and wife in civil law." They made an appeal in May 2014, asking the court to rule on the case.

"Even though circumstances surrounding marriage have changed socially and internationally, a same-sex union cannot be accepted as a marriage only with a legal interpretation under the current legal system -- without any legislative step," Lee Tae-jong, chief judge of the Seoul Western District Court, said in his ruling.

The judge pointed out that the country's current legal system stipulates a marriage as a union between people of different sexes.

"In the related laws, such as the Constitution and civil law, the basic premise is that a marriage is a union between a male and a female," he said, noting that the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court have also declared marriage as a union between people of opposite sexes.

"The interpretation of marriage cannot be extended to include a union for the purpose of living together for life based on the love between two people," he added.

Lee also dismissed the argument that a refusal to accept a same-sex marriage contravenes the constitutional principle of equality.

"Given that through the process of a marriage, child delivery and upbringing, a foundation is formed to continuously sustain and develop society, same-sex unions cannot be seen as the same as marriages between a man and a women," he said.

The judge then passed the ball to the National Assembly's court, arguing that whether to legally recognize same-sex marriage is an issue that should be settled through public discussions and "legislative" determination. (Yonhap)