Seoul’s mayor champions gay marriageAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
SOUTH KOREA — The mayor of the South Korean capital Seoul has become the first mainstream politician in the country to endorse marriage between same-sex couples, reports GayAsiaNews.com.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon told the San Francisco Examiner that he hoped South Korea would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
“I personally agree with the rights of homosexuals,” Park said. “Once [activists] persuade the people, the politicians will follow.”
His stance is significant because Park is a likely candidate in the 2016 presidential election. His remarks are a rare endorsement of gay rights in largely conservative South Korea where many Christian and Buddhist denominations play a big role in opposing equality rights.
“It could be politically risky should he run for presidency (as) the vast majority of South Koreans have negative attitudes against gay people, let alone same-sex marriage,” blogs.wsj.com reported citing recent polls.
An increasing number of soap operas and films feature gay characters., but politicians remain under pressure from religious groups that oppose gay rights, the report continued.
In June, conservative Christian groups shouting anti-gay slogans blocked South Korea’s annual Pride festival from taking place unhindered.
Male and female same-sex relations are legal in South Korea although it is not specifically mentioned in either the South Korean Constitution or in the Civil Penal Code. South Korea’s views toward same-sex relations have undergone some positive changes recently largely due to an increased level of awareness from a number of gay celebrities coming out.
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