The Korea Herald


Unmarried couples say they face disadvantages

By Lee Jung-Youn

Published : Oct. 13, 2022 - 17:26

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Couples outside legal boundaries are still facing various disadvantages, data showed Thursday.

According to a report from the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 28.3 percent of partners who are in a nontraditional form of family, such as common-law partners, said they have faced disadvantages in government policy.

The survey asked 159 men and 177 women between the ages of 19 and 49 in 291 households with unmarried couples whether they have experienced any kind of discrimination or inconvenience.

Of them, 28.3 percent said they faced obstacles in accessing government welfare policies, while 21.2 percent said they had inconveniences in getting daily services.

Moreover, 13.9 percent said that they have experienced negative public gaze and 12.5 percent said they were not allowed to be their partner's guardian at the hospital.

The majority of common-law couples consider themselves as married couples, the report also showed. “Financial burdens of having one's own house and wedding ceremony” were the reason of skipping marriage registration for 32.2 percent of the participants, followed by “to build trust before official registration” and “do not want to be restrained to social norms,” at 28.7 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively.

Nearly 43 percent of participants said they felt the need for marriage registration because of restrictions and discrimination in welfare benefits, while 39.6 percent said they have considered marriage registration for their children’s good.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced its will to revise the provision that stipulates the range of family in April 2021, in order to recognize nontraditional families as legal, but recently reversed the position. As criticism has grown, the ministry on Sept. 24 said: “It is to abstain from consuming debate over the revision, and to extend practical support to citizens without blind spots.”