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Seoul mayor: I hope Korea is first in Asia to allow gay marriage

Seoul mayor: I hope Korea is first in Asia to allow gay marriage

The liberal mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, has said he hopes South Korea becomes the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage.

While on a recent trip to the US, Park told the San Francisco Examiner, ‘I personally agree with the rights of homosexuals.

‘But the Protestant churches are very powerful in Korea. It isn’t easy for politicians. It’s in the hands of activists to expand the universal concept of human rights to include homosexuals. Once they persuade the people, the politicians will follow. It’s in process now.’

Nearly one-third of the population is Protestant and hundreds of Christians blocked a gay pride parade in the capital this summer by lying in the streets.

When asked if Taiwan would be the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage – a bill is currently being debated in Taipei – he said, ‘I hope Korea will be the first.

‘Many homosexual couples in Korea are already together. They are not legally accepted yet, but I believe the Korean Constitution allows it. We are guaranteed the right to the pursuit of happiness. Of course, there may be different interpretations to what that pursuit means.’

Park started his career as a humans rights lawyer and is seen as a contender for the 2017 general election. He has been criticized by his opponents for allowing an anti-homophobia campaign appear on buses and billboards.