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South Korea refuses to incorporate gay group

South Korea refuses to incorporate gay group

The first South Korean LGBTI group to apply for incorporation has said they were rejected by four government agencies because of anti-gay discrimination.

Beyond the Rainbow Foundation approached the Seoul Municipal Government, National Human Rights Commission and the ministry of justice between January 2014 to January 2015 but were rejected by them all.

Under current law, non-profit organizations need government permission to incorporate. After becoming a corporate entity, non-profits can manage their finances with more transparency and government supervision, and their donors receive tax benefits.

Candy Yun, coordinator of the program management team at the Beyond the Rainbow, said they were ‘absolutely frustrated’ by the rejections.

‘We were rejected by the government because we are an LGBT association,’ she told Gay Star News.

‘South Korea is a country which guarantees freedom of assembly and association by constitutional law. We cannot accept the rejection. There’s no appropriate reason for it.’

The group first approached the Seoul Municipal Government’s welfare policy department, which rejected them because they ‘go against traditional values.’

The city’s human rights department told the group that they did not have the right to grant permission for incorporation and said they should take their application to the National Human Rights Commission.

The commission told the group that their application would take more than a year and the standing committee would turn down their application anyway, so it would be best not to try.

The ministry of justice also rejected Beyond the Rainbow’s application for incorporation.

‘The ministry of justice said that we are not dealing with ‘universal’ human rights and we are biased,’ Yun said.

She added that powerful Christian lobby groups were to blame for the string of rejections.

‘For several years, conservative fundamentalist Christians have been pushing the government not to make anti-discrimination laws,’ she said.

‘The officers are afraid of conservative fundamentalist Christians and they don’t want to make any trouble by accepting anything to do with LGBTI issues.’

Beyond the Rainbow is preparing to take legal action.