A South Korean court recognizes the rights of same-sex couples for the first time

As a result, Sung-wook and Kim Yongmin

For the first time in the nation, a South Korean court has recognized same-sex couples' legal rights.

In a historic decision, the Seoul High Court determined that a government health insurer did indeed owe coverage to the spouse of a customer after the company withdrew it when it learned the couple was gay.

Even though same-sex marriage is not recognized in South Korea, the men had a wedding ceremony in 2019.

LGBT rights in the nation, according to activists, have advanced thanks to the decision.

However, the case verdict might still be contested before the nation's Supreme Court. .

So Seong-wook, the plaintiff, said he appreciated the decision's "recognition of a very obvious right that has not been granted.".

After being refused coverage under the plan of his partner Kim Yongmin, he filed a lawsuit against the National Health Insurance Service in 2021.

Initially, the couple had been given coverage, but the NHIS later revoked it, claiming that they had given the same-sex couple coverage in error.

Mr. So applauded the court for treating "the principle of equality as an important issue" as he celebrated the decision.

"I think it has great meaning for LGBTQ people who have been in a discriminatory situation, those who support them, and all those who are discriminated against," he told the BBC.

The decision of a lower court was overturned by the Seoul High Court. It discovered that the NHIS's spousal coverage included legal families as well.

It also concluded that it was discriminatory to deny such benefits to same-sex couples.

"Everyone has the potential to belong to a minority. Being in the minority means you are not like the majority and cannot be wrong in and of yourself, the court's ruling stated.

"Awareness of minorities' rights and efforts to protect them are required in a society where the majority rule principle predominates. ".

In South Korean society, discrimination against LGBT people is still "pervasive," according to a Human Rights Watch report from the previous year.

Government benefits for newlyweds are frequently denied to same-sex couples who are not legally married.

The LGBTI community still faces discrimination, but this court decision gives hope that prejudice can be defeated, according to a statement issued by Amnesty International following Tuesday's decision.

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