Social Issues

Japanese court rules that disallowing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

Tokyo, May 30 (EFE).- A Japanese court ruled on Tuesday that the government’s stance of not recognizing marriage between people of the same sex was unconstitutional, marking the second verdict of this kind in the country, although there have been other court decisions that have taken the opposite view.

The Nagoya district court’s verdict is fourth in a series of judicial decisions that reflect the differences between Japanese judges when it comes to interpreting the constitution, which guarantees freedom of marriage but establishes that it can only take place “on the mutual consent of both sexes.”

Tuesday’s decision comes in a lawsuit filed by a couple – consisting of two men – after their application for registering their union as a marriage was rejected.

The petitioners have argued that the constitution does not explicitly bar gay marriages.

The Nagoya court ruled that not recognizing marriage between people of the same-sex violated the constitutional principles of equality before law, individual dignity and gender equality.

However, it rejected the petitioners’ demand for compensation worth one million yen (over $7,100) over the violation of their rights under the current legal framework.

In March 2021, another regional court in Sapporo had held the government’s position unconstitutional over its refusal to recognize gay marriage, marking the first verdict of its kind.

However, two later decisions issued last year by courts in Osaka and Tokyo said that the current legal system, which does not recognize matrimony between people of the same-sex, was constitutional.

Japan is the only G7 country that does not have a legal framework to allow same-sex marriage, although an increasing number of regional and local governments have allowed gay couples to register civil unions, which carry some rights.

Although polls have shown widespread popular support for legalizing same-sex matrimony, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party has been reluctant to bring reforms in this regard.

The Kishida administration has for months tried to bring a law against discrimination towards the LGBT+ community, but opposition from the more conservative sections of the party has delayed the bill and ensured that it has been considerably toned down. EFE


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