SEOUL - The first gay marriage in Korea on Saturday sharply divided the country, putting to the test its legal system and public tolerance of sexual minorities.
Film director Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and film distributor Kim Seung-hwan held a symbolic wedding in central Seoul. They have been partners for nine years.
The two men made their vows in front of guests reported to number about 1,000, including Kim-Jho's mother, movie director Byun Young-joo and civil activist Paik Ki-wan.
Their marriage, however, will not be formally recognised here, as Korea has not legalized same-sex marriage.
But Kim-Jho, 48, an openly gay activist, and his 29-year-old partner announced that they are now a married couple regardless of the law.
"It is important whether or not we become a legally bound couple. But more importantly, we want to let people know that gays can marry too in our society," Kim-Jho told reporters before the ceremony.
The newlyweds will seek legal approval for their marriage. They said they would consider filing a petition with the Constitutional Court if the government refuses to legally recognise their marriage.
Gay rights activists and some lawmakers have backed their decision, vowing to join the legal fight.