Seoul: Government says mayor’s ‘hope’ for equal marriage was a mistranslation

Aaron Day October 20, 2014
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The Seoul Metropolitan Government has released a statement on mayor Park Won-soon’s apparent endorsement of same-sex marriage last week, saying it was “not an expression of his own volition.”

In an interview with the San Francisco Examiner on Sunday last week, Mr Won-soon reportedly said that he hoped South Korea would become the first Asian nation to legalise equal marriage.

He was quoted as saying: “I hope Korea will be the first” and “I personally agree with the rights of homosexuals.”

However, the government has since released a statement which says: “Mayor Park has not directly expressed that he will push forward the legalisation of gay marriage, but rather explained the Korean circumstance.

“During the interview he was explaining the debate in the National assembly over protecting sexual minority rights, and the conflict with the religious world, and how the first Asian country that legalises same-sex marriage will depend on civil society, which was not an expression of the mayor’s own volition.”

A government insider also told the Hankyoreh newspaper: “Mayor Park’s words were that ‘Maybe Korea would become the first country to legalise it (same-sex marriage).’

“He didn’t use the word hope. Mayor Park was explaining the Korean situation and was not saying that he intends to legalise same-sex marriage.”

He added that when Mr Won-soon first saw the article he said, “I didn’t say it to this extent.”

It is legal to be gay in South Korea. However, the country does not offer same-sex marriage or civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Gay couples can not adopt and there is no anti-discrimination legislation to help protect LGBT people.

Efforts to include protection of sexual orientation in the Anti-Discrimination Act are opposed by religious groups and have been thus far unsuccessful.

More: civil partnership, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage ban, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, wedding

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