South Korea's Constitutional Court has
upheld the nation's ban on outlawing gay sex in the military, the AFP
Saying that the law was necessary to
maintain discipline among the ranks, the 9-member panel ruled
Thursday that the law is constitutional.
“The legal code cannot be seen as
discriminatory against gays because such behavior, if left unchecked,
might result in subordinates being harassed by superiors in military
barracks,” the court said in a statement.
Justices, however, were not unanimous
in their decision, with 4 judges dissenting.
Under the ban, written in 1962,
soldiers found guilty of violating the policy are locked up for up to
one year and given a dishonorable discharge. South Korea's military
draft makes service mandatory for all male citizens, with no
conscientious objector option. And in a country where service
records are commonly used to determine employment and being gay is
considered “abnormal,” a military dishonorable discharge for
being gay carries a heavy burden.
The Military Penal Code further
punishes gay troops by lumping together consensual and non-consensual
gay sex as “sexual harassment.”
South Korea's defense ministry had
asked the Constitutional Court to uphold the gay ban, saying that the
military “works for the public interest rather than personal