The demographic situation is deteriorating in South Korea, where for the first time there are more deaths than births. By 2025, the country could have over 20% of its population aged 65 or older. Young South Koreans are, in fact, not too interested in parenthood.
To reverse the trend, the government is extending benefits to married couples and plans to expand the legal definition of family, but same-sex couples are not part of the plan.
Marriage equality, or even civil unions for same-sex couples, is not legal in South Korea. There is no law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. And there is no recognition of LGBTQ families who cannot access adoption because the law makes it difficult for unmarried people to adopt.
So when the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced its intention to propose to extend protections and benefits to non-traditional families, such as single parents or unmarried cohabiting partners, and ensure that they are legally recognized, LGBTQ couples welcomed the news.
Unfortunately, they were quickly disappointed when a ministry official stated these changes would only affect straight couples.
“There hasn’t been any discussion nor even a consideration about same-sex couples,” the official wrote in an email to VOA News.
It is obvious that the South Korean government is depriving itself of potential parents by excluding same-sex couples.