Help us continue to fight human rights abuses. Please give now to support our work. It was quite something to see a district court judge break into tears as she read her verdict declaring the denial of marriage registration to same-sex couples in Japan unconstitutional. This includes the broad public outcry when the media has mocked gay and transgender people. Dozens of prefecture and municipal governments have passed ordinances recognizing same-sex relationships with certificates.
Japan: Court says not recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional
Japan: Court says not recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional | News | DW |
Sapporo bench denies negligence, rejects payment for psychological damage. TOKYO Kyodo -- A Japanese court ruled for the first time Wednesday that the government's failure to recognize same-sex marriage is unconstitutional as it violates the right to equality, in a historic verdict hailed by activists as a step toward a change in their lives. Even so, plaintiffs and supporters rejoiced at what they welcomed as a landmark ruling in Japan, the only Group of Seven country that refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. The court took us seriously," said a plaintiff in his 40s, who uses Ryosuke Kunimi as his pseudonym, following the verdict. The plaintiffs were among 13 couples who filed similar lawsuits on Valentine's Day in in Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Another three same-sex couples filed a suit in Fukuoka in September that year. The three couples in Hokkaido -- two male couples and one female couple -- said they had tried to register their marriages with local authorities in January but were rebuffed on the grounds that same-sex marriage has no legal status.
Japan court says same-sex marriage should be allowed
The Sapporo District Court said sexuality, like race and gender, is not a matter of individual preference, therefore prohibiting same-sex couples from receiving benefits given to heterosexual couples cannot be justified. The court was hearing a case brought by three same-sex couples who were seeking government compensation for the difficulties they had to suffer from not being able to legally marry. The court declined to financially compensate the plaintiffs. Nevertheless, activists say the ruling is a major victory that could influence similar court cases and help their efforts to push for parliamentary debate and changes to the law to allow same-sex marriage. He said the government seeks to achieve a society more tolerant to diversity, but did not say how it would respond to the ruling, except that it will watch pending court cases.