Japan court upholds same-sex marriage ban — Analysis
Japanese judges have dismissed a group lawsuit brought together by gay couple.
A district court in the city of Osaka ruled on Monday that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was not unconstitutional, rejecting arguments made by three same-sex couples who filed the suit. The court also dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for 1 million yen ($7,400) in damages for each pair.
“From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realize the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognized through official recognition,”According to the court’s ruling.
However, current legislation does not recognize unions between men and women. “not considered to violate… the constitution,”In addition, the court stated that “public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out.” Japan’s constitution establishes that “marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes.”
The plaintiffs blasted the court’s ruling, expressing fears that the decision would further complicate the lives of same-sex couples.
“I actually wonder if the legal system in this country is really working,”Machi Sakata was the plaintiff. She married Machi Sakata in Japan. “I think there’s the possibility this ruling may really corner us,”She added.
This lawsuit was rejected as part of an organized action by several same-sex couples who filed in various Japanese district courts back in 2020. Osaka’s case is now the second to be heard. A Sapporo court in March heard the first case. It produced an opposite result.
Back in those days, the court found the prohibition against same-sex marital relationships to be discriminatory. The rights and privileges under marriage were also banned. “equally benefit both homosexuals and heterosexuals.” The Sapporo court, however, did reject the plaintiffs’ demand for 1 million yen in compensation from the government.
Japan may be more accepting of homosexuality than its Asian neighbor, but it is still far from the West. Although same-sex couples can’t get married legaly, several cities and prefectures offer symbolic certificates of partnership for those who are not gay. These certificates are not legal but offer some benefits such as the right to visit a hospital and assistance with renting property.
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