A high court in South Korea on Tuesday ordered the national health insurance service to provide spousal coverage to same-sex couples, a ruling that was seen as a welcome victory, but one that supporters said highlighted how far the country has to go in protecting the rights of sexual minorities.

Despite the growing social acceptance of sexual minorities in South Korea, a bill that would prevent discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people is being blocked in the National Assembly, decades after such a measure was first introduced.

A powerful Christian conservative lobby has been a crucial factor in opposing the bill. Politicians in the governing conservative People Power Party rely on churchgoers as an important voting bloc. But even when the center-left Democratic Party held power, lawmakers in both parties acceded to the demands of this vocal group.