Major set-back for LGBT rights in South Korea

On Sunday December, 7, 2014, Seoul experienced a day-long sit-in protest in front of the City Hall, organized by Rainbow Action, a coalition of twenty LGBT organizations based in South Korea. LGBT advocates are demanding that the government, namely the Mayor of Seoul, Mr. Park Won-Soon, stop halting the process of enacting the Seoul Charter of Human Rights. The Charter includes a provision of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Charter, which was initiated by Park, was already passed by the Citizen Committee, composed of 134 lay citizens and 30 human rights experts, including professors and activists, on November 28, 2014. Two days later, Park denounced the Charter and publicly condemned the rights of LGBT people, while apologizing the protestant church for any inconvenience.

Andy Marra wrote in an article for the Huffington Post:

I hope these LGBT activists remind Mayor Won-soon Park of his own roots in activism and why he was elected Seoul's mayor. Otherwise Mr. Park will have lost much more than winning an international award. He will have lost his life-long pursuit of a more free and just society for all.

Send a message urging Seoul's Mayor Won-Soon Park to only put forth an LGBT-inclusive Charter of Human Rights and observe his duty to protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination. Email Mr. Park at or send a tweet to @wonsoonpark.

Two months ago, GLAAD has reported a great change towards the LGBT rights in Asia. The mayor of Soul and a leading candidate for South Korea's next president, Park Won-son, expressed his hopes for South Korea to be the first Asian country to legalize marriage equality in the interview for the San Francisco Examiner. Today, unfortunately the situation as well as Park's rhetoric has changed.