Korea’s first openly gay couple vows to file appeal

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Korea’s first openly gay couple vows to file appeal

The first gay couple to publicly come out of the closet in Korea announced Thursday that they will file an appeal against the Seoul Western District Court, which dismissed a suit to have their marriage legally recognized.

Kim Jho Gwang-soo, 51, a film director, and Kim Seung-hwan, 32, the head of the movie company Rainbow Factory, held a wedding ceremony in September 2013 and tried to register their marriage with the Seodaemun District Office in western Seoul in December 2013. The office denied the application and the couple filed a suit against the office with the Seoul Western District Court in May 2014, marking the first lawsuit to legally recognize gay marriage in Korea.

But on Wednesday the court dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that the judicial branch cannot regard the “union of a homosexual couple” as a “legal marriage” with the absence of legislation. In response to the court’s decision, the couple held a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday in Jongno District, central Seoul.

“The judiciary branch seems to be ignoring the trend in Korean society,” said director Kim. “Many people support gay marriage. I hope the court makes a wise decision.”

“It’s sad that was decided by the court in May, which is thought to be the month of families in Korea,” said Kim, the head of the movie company.

In the press conference, the couple’s attorney announced that they intend to file an appeal with the Seoul Family Court. They plan on doubling the number of litigations whenever the court dismisses their lawsuit.

“Despite fulfilling all the civic duties as a Korean citizen,” said director Kim with glimpse of tears in his eyes, “I don’t understand why my marriage cannot be acknowledged by the law simply because I love someone of my own sex. I don’t know how long I have to wait until my marriage is recognized by the law.”

BY SHIN SOO-YEON [shin.sooyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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