Court in Osaka upholds Japan’s gay marriage ban


marriage equality japan
Supporters respond to the Osaka verdict. Image: Youtube

In a setback for Japan’s LGBTQIA+ community, a court in Osaka has upheld the country’s ban on gay marriage. 

The court found that the ban on same-sex marriage does not violate Japan’s Constitution

The Osaka court dismissed a case filed by two gay couples and one lesbian couple and rejected their demand for 1 million yen in damages.

The couples said they had faced “unjust discrimination”.

Currently, Japanese law defines marriage as between “two sexes”-  it is the only G7 country without marriage equality.

Speaking to Kyodo News, the plaintiffs described their disappointment in the verdict.

“I actually wonder if the legal system in this country is really working,” plaintiff Machi Sakata said.

“I felt there is a long way ahead [in our fight]” another of the plaintiffs, Akiyoshi Tanaka said.

His partner Yuki Kawata described the decision as“weak-kneed”.

‘A host of issues’

According to LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Marriage For All Japan, the failure to recognise gay marriage can lead to a host of issues.

Same-sex couples are denied the right to inherit property from their deceased spouse, foreign partners are not granted residency, and partners are denied hospital visitation rights.

Rainbow families can face additional challenges.

In the event of the biological parent dying, the other parent may not retain parental rights.

Survey indicates Japan is ready for marriage equality

A 2021 study found that around 69 percent of those surveyed in Japan supported same-sex marriage.

Even more convincing, 78 percent of respondents aged 20-59 were in support of marriage equality.

The Osaka verdict follows a ruling from the Sapporo District Court in March.

The Sapporo Court found that the ban on same-sex marriage did violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equality.

At the time, that ruling was hailed a win for LGBTQIA+ rights in Japan.

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