Japanese Court Rules Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriage Not ‘Unconstitutional’

A district court in Osaka has declared that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriages does not violate the constitution.

The complaint in Osaka, considered the second of its sort in the country,  was brought to court by three same-sex couples, two male and one female. 

In addition to dismissing their allegation that not being able to marry was unconstitutional, the court, in a report by BBC, also rejected petitions for 1 million yen ($7,414) in damages from each couple who claimed they had been subjected to “unjust discrimination” by being denied the right to marry.

However, the court recognized that there had been insufficient public discussion regarding same-sex marriage and that “it may be possible to create a new system” that recognizes the interests of same-sex couples.

In its judgment, the Osaka court stated, “from the perspective of individual dignity, it is vital to realize the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognized through official recognition.”

After another district court in Sapporo determined in 2021 that the inability to recognize same-sex marriage was “unconstitutional,” the verdict struck a blow to gay couples and rights advocates.

Marriage is defined in Japan’s constitution as a union of “two sexes.”

Same-sex couples are now unable to legally marry, inherit their partner’s possessions, or enjoy parental rights over their partner’s children under current laws.

Although partnership certificates given by some towns assist same-sex couples in renting a home together and having hospital visitation rights, they do not provide them with the same legal protections as heterosexual couples.

Japan is the only country in the G7 group of wealthy countries that prohibits the marriage of people of the same gender.

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