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Korean court rules in favor of same sex couple, recognizing partner as legal dependent

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So Seong-wook, left, and Kim Yong-min, a gay couple, stand in front of the Seoul Administrative Court in southern Seoul on Jan. 7, 2022, after the court ruled against them. [NEWS1]
So Seong-wook, left, and Kim Yong-min, a gay couple, stand in front of the Seoul Administrative Court in southern Seoul on Jan. 7, 2022, after the court ruled against them. [NEWS1]

The appellate court ruled in favor of a same-sex couple by acknowledging the partner as a legal dependent for health insurance on Tuesday.

This decision overruled the first trial which had ruled against the couple in January 2022. The court last year stated that it is difficult to see the couple’s marriage as a common-law marriage under the current law since marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

So Seong-wook, who married his partner Kim Yong-min in 2019, had filed an administrative lawsuit against the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) after the agency canceled So’s coverage under the insurance program of his male partner.

BY SOHN DONG-JOO [sohn.dongjoo@joongang.co.kr]