Court rules in favor of equal marriage in Japan | News

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This Tuesday a court in Nagoya (Japan's fourth largest city) ruled that the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, in what is considered the second ruling of this type issued by a court in the Asian country.


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The court decision is likely to increase pressure on the government to speed up efforts to protect the rights of sexual minorities; as Japan is the only nation in the Group of Seven without legal protection for equal marriage.

In a lawsuit filed by a homosexual couple in their 30s, the judges argued that preventing such unions goes against the Constitution, which stipulates the equality of men and women before the law.

The text of the ruling specifies that the laws in force in Japan "do not even provide a framework to protect relationships between same-sex couples", violating Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality, and Article 24, which guarantees freedom of marriage.

However, the Nagoya District Court rejected the plaintiffs' request that the state pay each 1,000,000 yen (US$7,100) in compensation.

In handing down the ruling, Judge Osamu Nishimura asserted that more people support the recognition of same-sex marriage, and that the reasoning behind excluding such couples from the legal marriage system is becoming "shaky," resulting in "hard to ignore."

The verdict was accompanied by the joy of the couple and supporters, who, outside the court, waved flags identifying the LGBTIQ+ community, considering the fact as another step towards marriage equality in the Asian country.

The judicial decision follows a similar one adopted by a court in Sapporo (north) in March 2021, which also argued that the Civil Code and family registration law in Japan violate constitutional guarantees of equality before the law.

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