Japan Court rules failure to recognize same-sex marriage as ‘unconstitutional. Japan’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage has been found “unconstitutional” by a federal court.
Japan is the only developing nation in the G7 community that does not allow same-sex marriage.
Marriage is described in the country’s constitution as “mutual consent by both sexes.” In what is seen as a symbolic win for LGBTQ campaigners, a Sapporo court ruled that this deprived the pair constitutionally-guaranteed equality.
The lawsuit was one of many taken before federal courts across Japan by a coalition of same-sex partners demanding compensation for emotional suffering.
The compensation claim of one million yen ($9,000; £6,480) per person for being refused the same benefits as heterosexual couples was dismissed by a Sapporo judge. However, it was determined that excluding them from marrying was illegal.
Ai Nakajima, a member of the plaintiffs’ party, told the BBC: “In Japan, this is a big move forward… We’re getting closer to realizing our goal.”
There is, though, quite a long way to go. Even if all district courts rule that same-sex partnerships are valid, the legalization of same-sex marriages is unlikely, according to The Japan Times, though current political pressure to amend the legislation is “lukewarm at best.”
Marriage is described in Japan’s constitution, which was enacted after World War II, as “mutual consent between both sexes.”
The court in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, is the first to decide, and its decision is supposed to have a major effect on the other courts.
According to Yuji Kitamaru, a journalist and LGBTQ rights analyst, the decision was “well-crafted and very political,” laying “the first legal groundwork toward anti-LGBTQ theories.”