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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A Japanese court has declared a ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

Tokyo ( Associated Press) – A Japanese court ruled on Monday that the ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution and rejected requests for compensation of three couples who violated their right to free union and equality.

The verdict of the District Court in Osaka is the second decision on that issue, and it does not agree with last year’s verdict of the court in Sapporo, which declared the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. This underscores the extent to which the issue of division remains in Japan, the only member of the Group of Seven Great Industrialized Nations that does not recognize same-sex unions.

In its verdict, the court in Osaka rejected the plaintiffs’ request for 1 million yen ($ 7,400) in compensation per pair due to the discrimination they face.

Prosecutors – two male and one female couple – were among 14 same-sex couples who filed lawsuits against the government in five major cities – Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka – in 2019 for violating the right to free community and equality.

They claimed that they had been unlawfully discriminated against by being deprived of the same economic and legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy through marriage.

Support for sexual diversity is slowly growing in Japan, but legal protection is still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, at work and at home, which is why many hide their sexual identity.

Human rights groups have advocated for the adoption of the law on equality ahead of last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, when international attention was focused on Japan, but the law was annulled by the conservative ruling party.

The court in Osaka said on Monday that the freedom of marriage in the 1947 constitution means only male-female communities and does not include same-sex unions, and therefore the ban on same-sex marriages is not unconstitutional.

Judge Fumi Doi said that marriage for heterosexual couples is a system established by society to protect the relationship between men and women who give birth to and raise children, and that ways to protect same-sex relationships are still in public debate.

The court, however, called on parliament to seek methods to better protect same-sex relationships, including options for legalizing same-sex marriage.

Monday’s decision was a setback for activists hoping for additional pressure on the government following a March 2021 ruling by the Sapporo District Court.

Prosecutors and their lawyers called Monday’s verdict unacceptable and said they would appeal.

Akiyoshi Tanaka, the prosecutor, said at a press conference that they had taken legal action to gain support from the court process for parliament to take action, but “the court remained far from making a decision”.

He said he would continue to fight. “We don’t have time to feel discouraged,” he added.

Public opinion in Japan is currently favoring the legalization of same-sex marriage.

According to the rules in force in Japan, same-sex couples cannot inherit property, house or other property they share, and do not have parental rights over each other’s children. They are often forbidden to rent apartments together, as well as to visit hospitals and other services available to married couples.

More than 200 municipalities across Japan, or 12 percent of the total, have started issuing legally non-binding certificates of partnership to same-sex couples since Tokyo’s Shibuya District became the first to do so in 2015.

Tokyo’s metropolitan government recently adopted a plan to accept the registration of sexual minority couples seeking certificates of partnership from October.

However, this is not the same as a wedding certificate and does not provide equal legal protection.

Taiwan is the only Asian country or territory that has legalized same-sex marriage.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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