Seoul: The first South Korean gay couple to seek legal status for their same-sex marriage said Thursday they would appeal a court decision rejecting their claim and urged other couples to join their struggle.
Movie director Kim Jho Gwang-Soo and his long-time partner Kim Seung-Hwan, held a wedding ceremony in Seoul in September 2013 and submitted their marriage registration form to their local authority -- only for it to be rejected.
The couple challenged the decision with a lawsuit filed in July last year, but a Seoul district court ruled Wednesday that there was no legal basis for challenging the authorities decision.
"I don`t know why we have to be pushed to the side just because we are the same sex," a tearful Kim Jho Gwang-Soo said at a press briefing the next day, during which he urged the judiciary to "end this history" of discrimination.
The couple`s lawyer Ryu Min-Hee said an appeal would be filed later Thursday and added two more same-sex couples would file separate suits seeking the same legal status for their marriages.
"We will continue to add litigants. The voice will get louder from all regions," Ryu said. "The plaintiffs have waited a long time."
Despite their disappointment, the two Kims said they had found some encouragement in the carefully worded court ruling.
The judge said he "sympathised" with the couple`s wish to legalise their marriage and acknowledged they were in a "regrettable situation".
While homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, same-sex marriage is not recognised and the country remains deeply conservative about matters of sexual identity.
But Kim Seung-Hwan noted that some progress had been made since the two got married and he encouraged more gay couples to take a stand.
"I would like to ask all same-sex couples to come out of the closet and join us," Kim said. "The legalisation will happen faster if the concerned party gets bigger."