LGBTI global news 24-7

South Korean film director announces plan to marry boyfriend

Same-sex wedding officially planned for 7 September, but won't be legally binding
Gwang-soo Kim Jho and Sunghwan Kim

South Korean film director Gwang-soo Kim Jho yesterday announced his plans to marry his boyfriend in a symbolic ceremony to bring attention to LGBT rights.

'We wanted to convey the message that all sexual minorities should be given rights equally in a beautiful way,' Kim Jho said at a press conference, where he and his boyfriend were dressed in tuxedos and kissed for the cameras, Reuters reports.

Kim Jho said he will apply to get his marriage legally registered after the ceremony on 7 September. 'It will most definitely be denied,' he said. 'But then I will file a constitutional appeal… and I will fight to legalize gay marriage.'

Gay Star News reported on plans for the wedding in January after interviewing Kim Jho's boyfriend Sunghwan Kim.

'A big open same-sex marriage performance can get media attention very easily and draw public attention,' said Kim in the interview, adding that they were aiming for 100,000 people to attend.

At the press conference Kim Jho said he will invite failed progressive presidential candidate Moon Jae In, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and South Korean President Park Geun Hye, who is socially conservative.

'Even though President Park Geun Hye and I walk different roads both politically and philosophically, I think I should definitely invite her since she's the country’s president,' said Kim Jho.

'I’m planning to invite many people who are in leading positions in Korea. I hope they can provide help in the advancement for the rights of the sexual minority.'

The couple want to use the traditional wedding money gifts to start an LGBT center in Seoul.

'In Korea we do not have a donation culture,' Kim told Gay Star News. 'People don't usually give money to charities - but they do at weddings. At a marriage ceremony a lot of people give money to the couple.'

After mainstream success as a film director, Kim Jho launched a production company that specializes in LGBT-themed films, Rainbow Factory, in 2011.

A conservative Christian culture is an obstacle to acceptance of LGBT rights in South Korea. Last year protests about Lady Gaga visiting the country led to under-18s being banned from her concert.

And a late-night talkshow on trans issues was dropped after one episode after a Christian group took out a newspaper advert denouncing the show and warning 'children will blindly follow in the steps of transgenders'.

Earlier this week a South Korean gay rights group released a YouTube clip of over 100 LGBT people and allies singing a pro-equality song.  

Comment on a news story