2017-08-29 21:07
Constitutional row on LGBT heats up
By Lee Kyung-min


Far-right Christian groups are increasing efforts to block attempts to amend part of the Constitution that governs marriage, claiming the liberal-minded in the country are seeking to legitimize homosexuality.

A special committee comprised of lawmakers began a nationwide tour, Tuesday, to hear public opinions on the possible revision of the Constitution to better guarantee equal rights.

The 36-member committee representing both the ruling and opposition parties will visit 16 provincial areas to listen to the concerns of voters regardless of their sex, age, socioeconomic status and other socially imposed characterizations. The specifics will be outlined by the end of this year and put to a referendum in the June local elections next year.

Christian groups oppose the committee’s move to change or revise a part of the clause that defines marriage.

The current clause states, “Marriage and family life should be established and maintained by equality of both sexes…”

But the committee has sought to either remove the “both sexes” part or replace it with gender-neutral language.

The public-recommended revised version states, “Every individual has the right, under the principle of equality and dignity, to marry and start a family.”

The group said the fundamental values of marriage and family will be irrevocably destroyed.

“The revision will guarantee equal rights protection for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people to start a family, which most Koreans are against. By the same logic, people will ask that polygamy be legalized.”

The group also opposes revising another clause which lists grounds for banning discrimination.

The current clause states, “Discrimination that violates equal rights protection includes doing so based on sex, religion, family roots, appearance including physical attributes, marriage status, academic or family background, illness.”

The committee has sought to add “sexual orientation” in the clause, which the group said will severely restrict its members’ right to openly criticize sexual minorities.

“Our efforts to inform the public about the depravity of the morally corrupt acts of a few will be banned, which we cannot accept. Many countries ban homosexuality including Russia, countries in Africa and other parts of Asia as well as Middle Eastern countries,” it said.

Homosexuality goes against the traditionally held concept of how one should maintain morality involving sexual activity in Korea, it claimed, adding that it also goes against the majority opinion held by Korean people.

According to a Gallup poll released in June, 58 percent of Koreans oppose gay marriage. However, 56 percent said homosexuality was a type of love, while 90 percent supported equal job opportunities regardless of sexual identity and 81 percent opposed dismissal due to sexual orientation.