Gay South Korean film director marries his partner in public

Sat Sep 7, 2013 8:24am EDT
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By Jane Chung

SEOUL (Reuters) - Gay South Korean film director Kim Jho Gwang-soo symbolically married his long-term partner on Saturday, with the couple exchanging vows on a bridge, though same-sex marriage remains illegal in the conservative Asian country.

Dressed in white, Kim and his partner of nine years, Kim Seung-hwan, staged an ceremony on a stage overlooking a stream, with a choir and various artists performing a musical tribute.

Both men made clear they were trailblazing in a society where traditional values keep many homosexuals from coming out, let alone pressing for legal approval for same-sex unions.

"Now people cannot but call us as a married couple as we have had a wedding," Kim, 49, told a news conference, holding his partner's hand tightly before the ceremony got under way.

"It is important whether or not we become a legally bound couple. But more importantly, we want to let people know that gays can marry too in our society."

Hundreds attended the two-hour ceremony, dubbed "Kim Jho Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan's Righteous Wedding," which featured the partners reading their vows and singing a song to illustrate their love story.

Proceedings were disrupted briefly when an unidentified man rushed onto the stage and tossed food onto members of the choir.

Yonhap news agency later identified the man as an elder in a Christian church. He was detained by police.   Continued...

South Korean film director Kim Jho Gwang-soo (L) kisses his partner Kim Seung-hwan during their wedding ceremony in central Seoul September 7, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won