This week, South Korea was urged to repeal the sodomy law and Graeme Reid of HRW said that ‘South Korea’s military sodomy law is a blight on the country’s human rights record and multiple human rights bodies have called for its abolition’. Two years of military service is compulsory for all able-bodied South Korean men, and the sodomy law punishes servicemen for ‘disgraceful conduct’ and prosecutors can apply it even if such sexual acts took place outside military facilities.
While homosexuality is legal in South Korea, conservative attitudes, not least among Christian groups and sects, many LGBT Koreans feel forced to remain ‘in the closet’. In addition, South Korea has no anti-discrimination legislation in place to protect its LGBT citizens and unlike recent forward thinking initiatives in Thailand and Taiwan, South Korea’s politicians have yet to grasp the socio-economic value offered by legalising same-sex marriage or civil partnerships.
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