South Korean High Court Recognizes Rights of Same-Sex Couples

Seoul's high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to spousal health insurance.

Seoul’s high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to spousal health insurance.

Today, a high court in Seoul, South Korea reached a landmark ruling in the pursuit of equal rights for same-sex couples. The court ruled that a same-sex couple, which was previously shot down by a lower court earlier this year, is entitled to national health insurance coverage, the same as a heterosexual couple. Not only is this a major victory for the couple in question, but it’s the first time that the country’s legal system has formally recognized the legitimacy of a same-sex couple.

“I am delighted because I felt like the judges told us through a court decision that the feelings of love I have for my husband should not be the target of ignorance or insults,” So Sung-uk, one of the couple, told reporters.

“It took us such a long time to have our marriage status recognized within the legal framework,” added So’s partner, Kim Yong-min.

Advocates for LGBTQ+ rights are championing the ruling as a major victory for their cause in the country.

“This is an important decision that moves South Korea closer to achieving marriage equality,” Amnesty International’s east Asia researcher, Boram Jang, said in a statement. “There is still a long way to go to end discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, but this ruling offers hope that prejudice can be overcome.

“By not recognizing partners in same-sex relationships, the national health insurance service was discriminating against same-sex couples, denying basic rights afforded to couples of the opposite sex. Today’s ruling will help to rectify this wrong.

“This ruling is significant as the first decision legally recognizing same-sex couples to be made by a court at any level in South Korea, but much more needs to be done to end discrimination against, and criminalization of, the LGBTQ+ community.”

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