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Seoul mayor backtracks on gay marriage

Seoul mayor backtracks on gay marriage

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has backtracked on comments he made in support of gay marriage to foreign media after a backlash in his home country.

Park told the San Francisco Examiner earlier this month that he hoped Korea would be the first country in Asia to allow gay marriage, making him the first mainstream Korean politician to come out in support of same-sex unions.

He added that gay rights faced strong from the church.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government website has since been flooded with 900 comments opposing gay marriage.

Churches called on members to call and write to the government demanding Park recant his words.

In response to the backlash, the government said last week in a statement, ‘Mayor Park has not directly expressed that he will push forward the legalization 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 legalizes same-sex marriage will depend on civil society, which was not an expression of the mayor’s own volition.’

A government insider told the Hankyoreh newspaper, ‘Mayor Park’s words were that "Maybe Korea would become the first country to legalize 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 legalize same-sex marriage."

He added that when Mayor Park saw the article he said, ‘I didn’t say it to this extent.’