Cheers as court in Japan rules against ban on same-sex marriage

Japan same-sex marriage advocates outside court
Image: Twitter

A court in Japan has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, putting pressure on the government to act.

In 2019, a gay male couple filed the lawsuit after they tried to register their same-sex marriage and were rejected.

The Nagoya District Court this week ruled in their favour, putting pressure on the Japanese government to change the law.

The court stated Japan’s current laws fail to “even provide a framework to protect the relationships of same-sex couples.”

This violates the Constitution’s Article 14, which ensures the right to equality, and Article 24, guaranteeing the freedom of marriage, the ruling said.

The plaintiffs and a crowd of supporters cheered and waved rainbow flags outside the court after the ruling was delivered.

The court can’t force the government to legislate. But advocates say the ruling is a step forward, after two earlier rulings and an unsupportive government.

The ruling comes after an Osaka court last year ruled the ban was not out of step with the constitution.

In November, a Tokyo court also backed the same-sex marriage ban. However, that court said same-sex families’ lack of legal protection violated their human rights.

Majority public support for same-sex marriage in Japan

Japan’s constitution states that marriage is between a man and woman.

Currently, same-sex couples can only access civil unions in various parts of the country.

But separate isn’t equal and the civil unions fail to provide inheritance rights, next of kin rights, tax benefits and joint custody of children.

Polls show public support for same-sex marriage is at around 70 per cent, Reuters reported.

But the conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida opposes the reform.

In February, the Prime Minister sacked an aide for homophobic comments he made about same-sex couples.

Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriages in 2019.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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