South Korean Constitutional Court Nominee Lee Seok-tae Expressed Support of Same-Sex Marriage
While the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh is going terribly in terms of LGBTQ rights, a high court confirmation hearing in South Korea is having much better luck.
According to local Korean news source Media Today, lawmaker Lee Seok-tae, who’s currently in a hearing for a position on South Korea’s Constitutional Court, expressed support of gay marriage.
“We should not look at the matter in terms of for and against, but basic rights,” he said while on the topic of same-sex marriage.
“It won’t be easy in the short run, but we have to understand and face it,” he then added.
Unfortunately, the other side of this hearing wasn’t so accepting and LGBTQ-inclusive.
The lawmakers questioning Lee then became hostile and asked him several hard ball questions. One even directly asked Lee if he was gay himself.
While homosexuality is legal in South Korea, there is still a toxic atmosphere around being openly gay (largely due to Christian rhetoric).
For instance, July saw the Seoul Queer Parade being bothered by 20,000 or more anti-gay protestors (mostly Christian based groups). These protestors held signs like “We will wait. We love you. Come back to us” or "Homosexuality is a sin" while yelling anti-gay chants.
In addition, there are no legal protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination. This has led to the allowance of a gay witch hunt in the South Korean military. Several gay men have been arrested for serving while being gay. This is especially unfortunate as the country’s draft means all men in Korea are mandated to serve at least 3 years.
That said, there is change coming to South Korea with the existence of queer parades, a few openly gay musicians, LGBTQ support from their arguably most internationally famous boy band, and now a Constitutional Court nominee who supports LGTBQ rights.
While being expressively supportive of same-sex marriage has certainly put a bigger target on Lee Seok-tae’s back, it has also made him a clear ally for LGBTQ people to look up to.
Here’s hoping he not only makes it out of the hearing alive but with a seat at the court.