The LGTBIQ community was dealt a blow on Wednesday when a Japanese court ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex unions was constitutional. This is the second time that Japan has ruled against equal marriage. As a result, the Tokyo District Court rejected the plaintiffs’ request for one million yen (or around 7,000 euros) in damages, claiming that the denial of their marriage petitions was unconstitutional.
According to the Kiodo news agency, the court has still noted that the lack of a legislative framework that makes it simpler for same-sex couples to have a family is a violation of their rights and freedoms. According to the Japanese Constitution, marriage is a ‘union of mutual consent between the two sexes,’ and the government has no plans to file a measure to change the constitution to recognise equal marriage.
The government’s refusal to recognise these civil unions was deemed unconstitutional by the Sapporo District Court in March 2021, but a higher court determined in June 2021 that the ban does not go against the Constitution. The eight plaintiffs, whose ages range from 30 to 60, were also among those who submitted comparable appeals in 2019 in other American cities.
The rules for civil registration in Japan are based on marriages between men and women and cover things like inheritance, tax breaks, and child custody—things that same-sex couples are not guaranteed. The plaintiffs contend that because the Constitution guarantees equality and the right to marry, the current legislation is unlawful.
To help same-sex couples more easily qualify for municipal benefits, local governments in some areas of the country, such as Tokyo, have started issuing certificates recognising same-sex marriage. However, these documents are not legally binding, making Japan the only G7 nation that still does not recognise same-sex marriage. Such unions have been recognised by more than thirty nations and areas. After legalising it in 2019, Taiwan was the first country in Asia to do so.