Constitutional Court Affirms Law Prohibiting Same-Sex Sexual Acts in Military

SEOUL - The Constitutional Court of South Korea upheld the legality of the military criminal act that prohibits sexual acts between same-sex soldiers on Thursday.

According to a new release by the Yonhap News Agency, the court stated that such behaviors could compromise the military's combat capability.

Article 92, Clause 6 of the Military Criminal Act stipulates up to two years of imprisonment for those committing anal intercourse or "any other indecent act." District courts in Incheon and Suwon had requested a constitutional review, questioning the phrase "any other indecent act" for its potential ambiguity.

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Constitutional Court maintained the law's constitutionality, arguing that there is a need to punish sexual acts conducted by force or without consent among same-sex soldiers. The court noted that even consensual sexual acts could disrupt the military's command structure and fighting power if conducted on duty or during the execution of duty.

The court dismissed arguments that the act goes against principles of equality by only focusing on same-sex soldiers. It also rejected claims that the language of the act is vague concerning whether both sexes are subject to punishment and whether consensual acts are also prohibited.

However, four judges issued a minority opinion stating that the act's language is "abstract, ambiguous, and comprehensive." Three of these judges also argued that the article severely limits individual sexual orientation for the sake of military discipline.

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