Published February 20, 2004
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – After watching TV images of gay weddings in San Francisco, Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk (search) said Friday that homosexual couples should be allowed to get married.
Since the Cambodian government chose in 1993 to be a "liberal democracy," it should allow "marriage between man and man ... or between woman and woman," the king said in a signed statement in French posted on his Web site.
The king, currently on a medical visit to Beijing, also said that transvestites should be "accepted and well-treated in our national community."
Sihanouk is a constitutional monarch with no executive powers but is highly respected in his country. Gay couples are not allowed to marry in Cambodia (search).
San Francisco has issued more than 2,800 marriage licenses to gay couples in the past week, amid a growing debate in the United States over whether such unions should be allowed. Sihanouk said in his Web site statement that he saw TV footage of gay weddings there.