constitutional combat

To Fight to Let South Korea’s Gay Soldiers Be Sexually Active

The South Korean military’s sodomy ban might be headed the way of America’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: the kill zone.

Clause No. 92 in Korea’s military penal code, says soldiers engaged in “sodomy or other acts of molestation” will receive jail sentences up to a year. The regulation — which uses the word “gyegan,” or “chicken sex,” to refer to sodomy, and does not stipulate whether “molestation” refers only to forced acts — has been on the books since 1962. But a new effort to remove it is underway, with the National Human Rights Commission petitioning to have the law overturned by the Constitutional Court, which is hearing the case.

In a review of the law, the NHRC “determined that homosexuality does not directly affect military combat power, moral fiber and unity. Criminal punishment according to the penal code infringes on their rights to equality and runs counter to the trend of the times,” according to a written conclusion. “We found that there are no cases overseas in which soldiers were punished for homosexuality. Militaries in Canada, Australia and Israel allow homosexuals to join them even after they came out of the closet.”

(In South Korea, all men are required to serve, but new enlistees undergo psychological profiles, including questions about their sexual orientation. Gay men are listed as having a “personality disorder” and disqualified from service. They may even be institutionalized.)

But repealing the law — of course — has its critics. Or rather, its fearmongers.

Military officials expressed displeasure over the NHRC decision. “Korea currently runs a draft system. In the hierarchical military society, one with a lower rank could be forced to consent to homosexuality. Taking into consideration Korean customs and rules, the clause should be kept alive,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

So what does this law’s historical record look like?

According to the commission data, a total of 176 cases of homosexuality in the military, handled in accord with the clause in question, were registered from 2004-2007. Of them, only four cases took place among consenting individuals.

So really, isn’t this a matter of cracking down on rape, not consensual gay sex acts? Surely forced sexual acts are already explicitly prohibited by military and legal code. So that should about cover things. [Korea Herald]

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3 Comments

  • jason

    I’m personally opposed to sexual activity of any orientation on military premises. It’s quite unseemly, unbecoming, and would create an imbalance based on gender segregation – ie since men sleep in the same barracks as men, only men who interact sexually with other men would effectively be enabled to engage in sexual activity, not men who sexually interact with women.

    The military isn’t a sex club. If you want to engage in sexual relations, do it on non-military premises during your own time.

  • geo

    @jason:
    I agree!

  • Justin

    I am a bisexual. Bisexuals are also part of the Gay community. I have had sex with men and women…

    I like this life secretly and not out.

    For me I disagree of coming out from being a gay.. Gay are men and man are strong to face challenges… sex and sex matters are private which not required to be publicized.

    If you are a gay inside you keep it and find another men who are hiding with the same interest like you. It is really actually disgusting to see men flirting with other men in the public. If you are a gay and you want to do gay stuffs get in to the room and do it not in the public places.

    The same concept of coming out from the closet for being a gay. No need to come out. freedom is freedom but coming out of your sexuality is the same as you are coming out to have sex in the public.

    Men should hide his sexual preferences. he might be a gay, bisexual, or he is a bestiality, lesbian what so ever.. sex is a private matter which must not be exposed in the public..

    Gays.. live with the test of happiness and be challenged… than coming out and no challenge at all.. believe me.. because we are the same

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