South Korea - first Asian country to legalize marriage equality?

By |
October 13, 2014

This past Sunday in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner 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. 

Park, who started his career as a human-rights lawyer, is persuaded that once the LGBT advocates convince the people, the politicians will follow. Despite the traditionalist forces represented by protestant church - which has historically opposed the LGBT movement, Korea has become more pro-LGBT in the past thirty years. Koreans want to see themselves as leaders not only in technology, they are taking the leads in battling climate change, urbanization, and increasingly, equality. There is no law against being LGBT in Korea. However, same sex marriage or civil partnerships are currently not available to LGBT couples.

Taiwan has been discussing marriage equality since 2003, but has not yet passed it into law. If Park's hopes come true, South Korea would quickly bypass Taiwan. According to Freedom to Marry, there are seventeen countries and two sub-national jurisdictions that allow same-sex couples to marry.