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Japan court upholds ban on marriage equality

A court in Osaka dismissed a lawsuit that argued that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Photo by Zhaoli JIN from Unsplash.com

Setback for LGBTQIA rights in Japan.

A court in Osaka dismissed a lawsuit that argued that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit – filed by three same-sex couples (two male and one female), who also demanded for 1 million yen ($7,414) in damages for each couple – is thereby seen to have negative effect on the country’s LGBTQIA community.

But – to date – various prefectures have different decisions affecting LGBTQIA people in Japan.

For instance, in March 2021, a court in Sapporo ruled that the same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional; and this is even if this particular ruling only recognized that the ban infringed on individual dignity, but “there have not been enough discussions among people in Japan” on the appropriate system to realize benefits for same-sex couples.

Japan’s constitution defines marriage as based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”. Currently, same-sex couples are not allowed to legally marry, inherit their partner’s assets, and they have no parental rights over their partner’s children.

Some localities already issue partnership certificates to help same-sex couples to rent a place together and have hospital visitation rights. But these do not give them full legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

With the Osaka court’s decision, Japan is now the only Group of Seven (G7) nation that bars people of the same gender to marry.

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