SEOUL - A prominent gay rights campaigner and movie director "married" his partner in South Korea Saturday, where same-sex marriage is not legally recognised.
Kim Jho Gwang-Soo - a rare openly gay celebrity in conservative South Korea - and Kim Seung-Hwan held an outdoor ceremony in central Seoul, urging the government to recognise their union.
"Through this ceremony, we will become a married couple, regardless of whether our marriage is legally accepted or not," Kim told journalists.
"Same sex marriage is not something shocking in many other countries. I hope South Korea will also join them in the near future", he added.
Same sex marriage is illegal in South Korea and much of the population frowns upon homosexual relationships.
Hours before the ceremony between Kim, 48, and his partner, who is 19 years younger, a handful of Christians briefly occupied the site in an attempt to stop the celebration, engaging in shoving matches with the couple's supporters.
Kim and his partner, a colleague at his entertainment firm, wore black suits and bow ties. They sang and danced their way to the stage together instead of marching as in a traditional ceremony.
Kim said the couple would file a lawsuit with the country's Constitutional Court if the government refuses to legally recognise their marriage.
The director added that any cash gifts received at the ceremony would be put towards building a centre for people who are discriminated against because of their sexuality.