In a landmark ruling, a South Korean court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same spousal coverage as heterosexual couples under the national health insurance service, marking the first legal recognition of same-sex union in South Korea.
According to a report by Reuters, the ruling overturned a decision taken by a lower court that a same-sex dependent was ineligible for benefits afforded other common law couples by the National Health Insurance Service. The couple who filed the petition So Sung-wook and Kim Yong-min celebrated the verdict. So Sung-wook had earlier filed the suit against the National Health Insurance Service in 2021 after being denied spousal benefits.
Love wins ❤— Amnesty International (@amnesty) February 21, 2023
The ruling today moves South Korea one step closer to achieving marriage equality! pic.twitter.com/82gOzBlCJ0
The lawyer for the plaintiff couple stated that the appellate court found that the state health insurance scheme's spousal coverage system was not exclusively reserved for families defined by law. The court ruled that denying spousal benefits to individuals in same-sex relationships amounted to discrimination.
The court in its ruling also noted that protecting the rights of minorities is the "biggest responsibility" of the court as the "last bastion" of human rights. The couple reportedly held a wedding ceremony in 2019 but were unable to register their marriage as same-sex marriage is still illegal in South Korea.
In India too, legal recognition of same-sex marriage has been met with resistance by the government. In a court filing last year it said same-sex marriages would cause “complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.” So far, more than 20 countries have legalised same sex marriages.
(With inputs from AP)