A lesbian couple hold hands.
Photo by Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Lesbian kiss on South Korean TV drama creates controversy

Updated

A kiss between two high school girls on a popular TV drama in South Korea is drawing criticism in the Asian country, where conservative roots are quickly shifting and modernizing to include more civil liberties.

The scene aired Wednesday during an episode of “Seonam Girls High School Investigators.” The Korea Communications Standards Commission received complaints after it aired on TV, the AFP reported.

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There also was a kissing scene earlier this month between two men in the drama, “Kill Me, Heal Me,” according to the AFP. The kiss between the two women earlier this week allegedly is causing the uproar from critics. But in recent years, the country’s TV drama industry has tried to include more culturally-sensitive social issues, including gay characters and teenage pregnancy.

On Thursday, South Korea’s highest court struck down a 1953 law banning adultery, calling the measure unconstitutional. The legislation made marital infidelity punishable with jail. Simultaneously, stock prices for condom companies soared.

Same-sex conduct is legal in South Korea, but same-sex unions aren’t recognized in the country. Few public figures are openly gay. Last September, two men were South Korea’s first same-sex couple to get married, Time magazine reported. Through a legal challenge, the couple, Kim Jho Kwang-Soo and Kim Seung-Hwan, hopes to make their country a leader of marriage equality in Asia.

Worldwide, 18 countries have approved the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. South Korea is not included. The country previously was ruled by dictatorial regimes and citizens prior to the late 1980s.

Attitudes about same-sex conduct have changed notably in the United States, Canada, and South Korea in recent years, according to the Pew Research Center. South Korean views have shifted considerably since 2007, when 77% of respondents polled said same-sex conduct should be rejected and only 18% approved of it. But two years ago, 39% of residents said they accepted gay individuals.

Gay Rights and South Korea

Lesbian kiss on South Korean TV drama creates controversy

Updated