In a setback to Japan’s LGBTQI community, a court in Osaka ruled that the country’s ban on same sex marriages was not “unconstitutional”. Japan is the only G7 country to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. 

The court dismissed the case filed by two gay couples and one lesbian couple and rejected their demand for 1 million yen in damages for each couple for “unjust discrimination”, reported Reuters.

Japanese law defines marriage as between “two sexes”. The Osaka court held that there had been not enough public debate on the issue of recognising same-sex couples and it might be possible to “create a new system”. 

Tokyo Issues Partnership Certificates

Last year, another court in Sapporo had ruled that the country’s failure to recognise same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government had announced that it will start issuing partnership certificates to same-sex couples from November 2022. The authorities clarified that it was not a marriage certificate, which also grants other rights to spouses. 

The LGBTQI community’s efforts last year to get Japanese lawmakers to pass an equality law before the Tokyo Olympics had not met with success after opposition from conservatives in the Parliament. 

69 % Support Gay Marriages

A poll by Ispos in 2021 said that around 69% of those surveyed in Japan supported same-sex marriages or other forms of recognition for gay couples. 

According to lobbying group Marriage For All Japan, though the country does not criminalise homosexuality, the failiure to recognise same-sex marriages lead to a host of issues for couples.

They are denied the right to inherit their deceased spouse’s property, foreign partners are not granted residency, same-sex partners are denied hospital visitation rights, they may be seperated from their deceased partner’s children and denied other benefits in law that are available to hetersexual couples. 

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