Japanese higher court rules in favor of marriage equality

Author: Bil Browning

A second Japanese higher court has found that the country’s lack of marriage equality is unconstitutional.

As more Japanese people have become supportive of marriage equality, Nagoya District Court Presiding Judge Osamu Nishimura said the arguments against legalizing marriage equality have become “shaky.” The logical conclusion, full equality, has become “difficult to ignore,” he added.

Nishimura ruled that a failure to recognize same-sex marriages violates Articles 14 and 24 of the Japanese constitution. Article 14 ensures equal treatment under the law. Article 24 mandates that “laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.”

An earlier ruling by the Sapporo District Court used similar reasoning in favor of marriage equality, but two other rulings by Tokyo and Osaka district courts found the ban constitutional due to the wording of Article 24 which requires both sexes be treated equally. The Tokyo judge, however, noted that not providing legal protections for same-sex families represents an “unconstitutional state.”

“This ruling has rescued us from the hurt of last year’s ruling that said there was nothing wrong with the ban, and the hurt of what the government keeps saying,” attorney Yoko Mizushima said after the ruling. Mizushima represented the plaintiffs, a gay couple from Aichi Prefecture.

The ruling adds pressure on the Japanese parliament, the National Diet, to legalize same-sex marriages. The body was expected to pass a comprehensive LGBTQ+ rights bill before the 2021 Olympics, but the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a conservative political party in control of both chambers of the legislature, refused to pass the legislation, saying it went “too far.”

LDP leaders instead wanted to pass a bill that would encourage the government to “promote understanding” of gay and trans people as a compromise. 

Japan remains the only country in the G7 group of countries that has not legalized marriage equality. 

Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Bil Browning


My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 12 years, together for 25 and living with our partner of 4 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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