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ADDED ON: 02/23/2021

What Seoul mayor candidates have to say on LGBTQ festival

02/22/2021 | The Korea Herald

The issue of LGBTQ rights has come to the fore again in South Korea’s political circles, sparked by the recent remarks from one of the leading candidates to be Seoul mayor. The controversial remarks from minor opposition People’s Party leader Ahn Cheol-soo was made during a televised debate between him and rival candidate Keum Tae-sup last week while discussing an annual LGBTQ Pride parade held in central Seoul since 2000. The Seoul Queer Culture Festival, held every year since 2000, has been staged at the most central and significant location in Seoul — near the City Hall and Gwanghwamun area — with a push from late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, despite opposition from conservative Christian organizations and more. South Korea does not mention LGBTQ rights in the Constitution, but states in the National Human Rights Commission Act that “no individual is to be discriminated against on the basis of his or her sexual orientation.” Nonetheless, marriage rights are only currently granted to heterosexual couples, and it was only recent that LGBTQ rights became discussed in the public, political and legal spheres. In the wake of Ahn’s remarks, some rival candidates and political forces quickly fired back, accusing the candidate of being far from inclusive and failing to respect minorities’ rights. The debate has continued since, becoming a potentially important political topic in deciding the next Seoul mayor in April.

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