More than half (56%) of South Koreans are against same-sex marriage a Gallup Korea poll ahead of the capital’s annual pride festival has revealed.

The survey found 35% of the population backed same-sex marriage.

These numbers are up on 2011 (17% for) but similar to polls conducted in both 2014 and 2017,

A conservative Christian backlash has hit South Korea’s fledgling LGBTI rights movement.

Well-organized groups have been fighting LGBTI pride events in the courts and on the streets.

Homosexuality is legal in South Korea. But conservative attitudes, especially among Christians, force many LGBTI Koreans to live in the closet.

In its 2019 world report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said leaders had done little to protect the rights of LGBTI people in .

The Gallup poll, which surveyed 1,002 men and women by phone during March, also found 37% of those surveyed did not consider homosexuality ‘a form of love’. But, 53% did.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents believed homosexuality came from external factors such as environment or upbringing. Only 25% believed homosexuality was innate.

The good news was that younger respondents (in their 20s) were much more likely to be supportive of same-sex marriage (62% for versus 29% against).

Interestingly, 50% of respondents supported the Seoul Queer Culture Festival (SQCF).

A court challenge to stop the 20th annual landmark LGBTI pride taking place on Saturday (1 June) failed this week.

Anti-LGBTI groups had argued the festival would be harmful to children and infringed on their rights.

But, the court said people were free not to attend the rally so their rights were not infringed.

Last year, more than 200,000 people demanding the government acts to prevent the Seoul Queer Festival from taking place.

Businesses and embassies came out in support of the event on Friday.

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