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Korea celebrates first public gay wedding

Two South Korean male filmmakers tied the knot in central Seoul Saturday, marking the first public wedding in the country for a gay couple.
Two South Korean male filmmakers tied the knot in central Seoul Saturday, marking the first public wedding in the country for a gay couple.
Lee Tae-hoon
Written by Lee Tae-hoon
Film director and producer Kimjo Gwang-soo, 48, and 29-year-old Kim Seung-hwan, at wedding ceremony.

Film director and producer Kimjo Gwang-soo, 48, and 29-year-old Kim Seung-hwan, wave after their wedding ceremony.

Despite the same sex-marriage being illegal in South Korea, no one could stop two South Korean male filmmakers – film director and producer Kimjo Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan, the head of the gay film distributor Rainbow Factory – from tying the knot Saturday.

The wedding ceremony took place on a temporary stage built near Cheonggye Stream, downtown Seoul in front of some 1,000 guests, marking the first public wedding in the country for a gay couple.

Kimjo, 49, said he realized that he was gay when he was 15 and prayed to God everyday that he would fix it.

“I couldn’t express my feelings even when I liked someone,” the director said.

“But I hoped that one day I would be able to love confidently and nine years ago, I met that person.”

Kimjo thanked the audience for attending the country’s first public gay wedding, saying he and his 19-year-younger partner are now a married couple regardless of the law.

A 54-year-old man claiming to be a devote Christian briefly disrupted the wedding. He went up on the stage and sprayed filth from a food container.

“Homosexuality is a sin,” the man claiming to be an elder in a church shouted. “Homosexuality destroys families and society.”

He was later taken into police custody.

About the author

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon is publisher at The Korea Observer. He previously worked for the Korea Times and Arirang TV. You can reach him at lee@koreaobserver.com.

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