Japan: 'unconstitutional' to bar same-sex marriage

In a landmark ruling a district court in Japan has said it is "unconstitutional" to not recognize same-sex partnership.

LGBT activists called it life-changing.

The ruling on the legality of same-sex marriages is a major symbolic victory in a country where, under the current rules, same-sex couples are not allowed to legally marry, can't inherit their partner's assets and also have no parental rights over their partners' children.

A plaintiff, known only as E, addressed the court.

"Only because the gender of the person we love is different, we can't get married. We live the same lives as heterosexuals, have the same troubles and the same joys. Though our lives are exactly the same, the nation wouldn't recognize this. This is clear discrimination from our point of view."

The plaintiffs' lawyer called the ruling "revolutionary".

A new law will be needed before same-sex marriages can actually take place. And it could take some time in socially conservative Japan

But a local activist said they can now see "a path for us to live our future".