Denying Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional, Japanese High Court Says

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese high court ruled Thursday that denying same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and called for urgent government action to address the lack of any law allowing for such unions.The court does not have the power to overturn the current marriage law, which has been interpreted to restrict marriage as between a man

Powered by NewsAPI , in Liberal Perspective on .

news image

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese high court ruled Thursday that denying same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and called for urgent government action to address the lack of any law allowing for such unions.

The court does not have the power to overturn the current marriage law, which has been interpreted to restrict marriage as between a man and a woman. Government offices may continue to deny marriage status to same-sex couples unless the existing law is revised to include LGBTQ+ couples, or a new law is enacted that allows for other types of unions.

The Sapporo High Court ruling said that not allowing same-sex couples to marry and enjoy the same benefits as straight couples violates their fundamental right to have a family.

A lower court issued a similar ruling earlier Thursday, becoming the sixth district court to do so. But the Tokyo District Court ruling was only a partial victory for Japan’s LGBTQ+ community calling for equal marriage rights, as it doesn’t change or overturn the current civil union law that describes marriage as between a man and a woman.

One of the plaintiffs, in a red and white shirt, center, speaks in front of media members by the main entrance of the Tokyo district court after hearing the ruling regarding LGBTQ+ marriage rights, in Tokyo, on March 14, 2src24. The banner reads:
One of the plaintiffs, in a red and white shirt, center, speaks in front of media members by the main entrance of the Tokyo district court after hearing the ruling regarding LGBTQ+ marriage rights, in Tokyo, on March 14, 2024. The banner reads: “Marriage Equality and Fulfill it right now!”

AP Photo/Hiro Komae

Five previous court decisions in various cities said Japan’s policy of denying same-sex marriage is either unconstitutional or nearly so. However, unlike the Sapporo ruling Friday, none of the low-level courts clearly deemed the Japanese government’s existing policy to reject same-sex couples unconstitutional.

Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven nations that still excludes same-sex couples from the right to legally marry and receive spousal benefits.

Support for marriage equality has grown among the Japanese public in recent years, but the governing Liberal Democratic Party, known for its conservative family values and reluctance to promote gender equality and sexual diversity, remains opposed to the campaign.

In the Tokyo ruling, the court said the right to marry, have a family and enjoy advantages marriage brings — such as tax deductions and social security benefits — are guaranteed for everyone, and that lack of the legal right to same-sex couples deprives them of their basic right.

The Tokyo ruling also acknowledged the right for anyone to live based on their sexuality and sexual identity, and the traditional family values and marriage are changing, and equality of same-sex marriage is increasingly accepted in international and corporate communities. The court said the government’s lack of effort to implement legal marriage equality is not unconstitutional, but expressed hope for the parliament to enact a law for same-sex marriage.

Marriage equality is now recognized in dozens of countries, not only in Western countries like Greece and the United States but also in Asia, with Nepal allowing same-sex marriage registration starting in 2023. according to the Marriage for All Japan, a civil group supporting the lawsuits.

While Japan’s conservative government has been criticized as stonewalling diversity, recent surveys show a majority of Japanese back legalizing same-sex marriage. Support among the business community has rapidly increased.

Tokyo enacted an LGBTQ+ awareness promotion law in June that critics said was watered down. The Supreme Court separately ruled that Japan’s law requiring compulsory sterilization surgery for transgender people to officially change their gender is unconstitutional.

Support HuffPost

Our 2024 Coverage Needs You

Your Loyalty Means The World To Us

At HuffPost, we believe that everyone needs high-quality journalism, but we understand that not everyone can afford to pay for expensive news subscriptions. That is why we are committed to providing deeply reported, carefully fact-checked news that is freely accessible to everyone.

Whether you come to HuffPost for updates on the 2024 presidential race, hard-hitting investigations into critical issues facing our country today, or trending stories that make you laugh, we appreciate you. The truth is, news costs money to produce, and we are proud that we have never put our stories behind an expensive paywall.

Would you join us to help keep our stories free for all? Your contribution of as little as $2 will go a long way.

As Americans head to the polls in 2024, the very future of our country is at stake. At HuffPost, we believe that a free press is critical to creating well-informed voters. That’s why our journalism is free for everyone, even though other newsrooms retreat behind expensive paywalls.

Our journalists will continue to cover the twists and turns during this historic presidential election. With your help, we’ll bring you hard-hitting investigations, well-researched analysis and timely takes you can’t find elsewhere. Reporting in this current political climate is a responsibility we do not take lightly, and we thank you for your support.

Contribute as little as $2 to keep our news free for all.

Dear HuffPost Reader

Thank you for your past contribution to HuffPost. We are sincerely grateful for readers like you who help us ensure that we can keep our journalism free for everyone.

The stakes are high this year, and our 2024 coverage could use continued support. Would you consider becoming a regular HuffPost contributor?

Dear HuffPost Reader

Thank you for your past contribution to HuffPost. We are sincerely grateful for readers like you who help us ensure that we can keep our journalism free for everyone.

The stakes are high this year, and our 2024 coverage could use continued support. If circumstances have changed since you last contributed, we hope you’ll consider contributing to HuffPost once more.

Support HuffPost

Already contributed? Log in to hide these messages.

Related

LGBTQJapan

Read More