Japan court rules ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

STORY: A Japanese court has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional.

The Osaka court said that marriage was defined as being only between opposite genders and not enough debate on same-sex marriage had taken place in Japanese society.

Japan is the only nation among the Group of Seven that does not allow people of the same gender to marry.

Machi Sakata, who married her U.S.-citizen partner in the United States, was one of the plaintiffs.


“I think it is a terrible ruling. They ruled that it is constitutional that people are being discriminated against for their sexuality that they cannot change. I am extremely furious, and I am very disappointed.”

Monday’s (June 20) ruling is a set back for LGBTQ rights activists who had hoped to continue placing pressure on the government following a similar case last year.

In March 2021, a district court in the city of Sapporo decided decided in favor of a claim that not allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

In addition, the introduction of partnership rights for same-sex couples in Tokyo last week, along with rising support in opinion polls, had raised hopes for the Osaka case.

Under current rules in Japan, members of same-sex couples are not allowed to legally marry, cannot inherit each other's assets and also have no parental rights over each other's children.

While Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said the issue needs to be carefully considered, his ruling Liberal Democratic Party has disclosed no plans to review the matter or propose legislation, though some senior party members favor reform.

Activists say legalizing same-sex marriage would have far-reaching implications both socially and economically, and help attract foreign firms to the world's third-biggest economy.

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