[News] Japan court rules barring same-sex marriage not unconstitutional in LGBTQ rights setback

Russian same-sex couple Yury Gavrikov and Maxim Lysak arrive at a registry office to apply for marriage licences in St. Petersburg June 28, 2013. – Reuters pic

Russian same-sex couple Yury Gavrikov and Maxim Lysak arrive at a registry office to apply for marriage licences in St. Petersburg June 28, 2013. – Reuters pic

Monday, 20 Jun 2022 2:00 PM MYT

TOKYO, June 20 — An Osaka court on Monday ruled that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was not “unconstitutional”, dealing a blow to LGBTQ rights activists in the only Group of Seven nation that doesn’t allow people of the same gender to marry.

Three same-sex couples had filed the case in the Osaka district court, only the second to be heard on the issue in Japan. As well as dismissing their claim the ban contravenes Japan’s constitution, the court rejected their claim for ¥1 million (RM32,600) in damages.

The ruling dashes activists’ hopes of raising pressure on Japan’s government to address the issue after a Sapporo court in March 2021 decided in favour of a claim that not allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Japan’s constitution defines marriage as being based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”, but increasing public support in opinion polls for same-sex marriage, and the introduction of partnership rights for same-sex couples in the capital of Tokyo last week, had increased activists’ and lawyers’ hopes in the Osaka case. — Reuters

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