Japanese Court: Ban on Same Sex Marriages Unconstitutional

A Japanese court has ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, in a landmark judgment on Wednesday. 

The Sapporo District Court ruled that the government violated a section of the constitution for failure to uphold equal rights for all.

“I was in tears hearing her clearly say it was unconstitutional,” said one of the plaintiffs.

“It doesn’t mean we can get married tomorrow, so I want to continue our efforts moving forward,” the plaintiff added.

Three couples in Hokkaido sued the government for psychological harm with damages amounting to 1 million yen each in 2019. 

“It is discriminatory treatment… that they cannot receive even some of the legal benefits that heterosexuals do,” read the ruling on Wednesday.

Despite the ruling, the court did not grant the claims for damages. 

Kanae Doi, director of Human Rights Watch in Japan said that the ruling was a big step forward. 

“While the Supreme Court would eventually decide whether the Diet (parliament) needs to act or not, which will be several years away, today’s ruling will affect the already supportive Japanese public opinion on marriage equality, which would make it harder for the Supreme Court to neglect,” Kanae said.

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