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Ruling party candidate treads lightly on anti-discrimination law

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Feb. 11, 2022 - 21:30

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Presidential candidates during a TV debate held Friday (Joint Press Corps) Presidential candidates during a TV debate held Friday (Joint Press Corps)
Lee Jae-myung, presidential candidate of ruling Democratic Party, said he agreed with the idea of passing an anti-discrimination law, but remained cautious about it being billed.

Sim Sang-jung, candidate from the minor progressive Justice Party, brought up the anti-discrimnation law at the second presidential candidate TV debate held Friday by the Journalist Association of Korea.

“Though there may be some controversies, it is right to enact the anti-discrimination law. I have shared my stance with the party,” Lee said.

Lee, however, distanced himself from the issue, saying that he was not a member of the National Assembly, and that he does not have the authority to direct the Democratic Party directly.

Sim suggested passing the law on March 3, the first anniversary of the death of transgender soldier Byun Hee-soo, who was forcefully discharged from the Army for his gender identity.

“The legislation should be discussed at the National Assembly. It is not something that Democratic Party can handle on its own. It cannot be forcefully passed. I belive it should be discussed and processed with speed at the National Assembly,” Lee said in response to the suggestion, continuing to stress his having no direct part in legislation. Lee also attempted to bring Yoon Suk-yeol into the discussion, requesting Sim to pose the same question to the People Power Party candidate. Sim ignored Lee‘s request.

The anti-discrimnation bill has been discussed since 2007. It would ban direct and indirect discrimination based on gender, disability, medical history, age, origin, ethnicity, race, skin color, physical condition, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)