OSAKA, Japan (LifeSiteNews) – A Japanese court has ruled that the country’s ban on homosexual “marriage” is not unconstitutional.
A district court in Osaka ruled Monday that Japan’s ban of same-sex unions did not contradict the Japanese constitution. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by three homosexual couples, two of men and one of women. The ruling contradicted a March 2021 ruling from a district court in Sapporo that found that the ban violated the right to free unions and equality.
Judge Fumi Doi of Osaka ruled that marriage is a system established by society to protect relationships between men and women who bear and raise children, and that homosexual unions are still an object of debate in Japanese society. The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ desire for $7,400 in damages. However, the court opined that the Japanese parliament should look for ways to create legal protections for same-sex relationships and and legalize homosexual “marriage.”
“From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realize the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognized through official recognition,” the court stated. “Public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out.”
The Japanese constitution defines marriage as a system based on “the mutual consent of both sexes.”
Reacting to the ruling, Machi Sakata, one of the plaintiffs, said “I actually wonder if the legal system in this country is really working … I think there’s the possibility this ruling may really corner us.” Sakata “married” her partner in the United States. The pair are expecting a baby in August, according to Reuters, which did not specify how they will obtain the child.
Akiyoshi Miwa, a lawyer working for the plaintiffs, said that the plaintiffs will file an appeal. Speaking to Reuters, Miwa said “We emphasize in this case that we wanted same-sex couples to have access to the same things as regular couples.”
More than 200 municipalities in Japan have issued non-legally binding partnership certificates that allow homosexual partners to rent housing together and make hospital visits, both of which are currently forbidden under Japanese law. Japanese law also forbids homosexual couples from inheriting each other’s property and having parental rights over each other’s children.
Last week, the Tokyo metropolitan government voted to issue partnership certificates to homosexual partners. The city will start issuing the certificates in October, though the certificates will offer no legal protections. A similar case to the one in Osaka is set to be decided in Tokyo later this year. Polling shows that 70% of Tokyo citizens are in favor of legalizing homosexual “marriage.”
According to conservative commentator Douglas Murray, Japanese treat homosexuality with “indifference rather than hate,” as explained in his book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity. However, most Japanese say that they are in favor of legalizing homosexual unions, according to a poll taken last year by Asahi Shimbun.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of the Liberal Democratic Party, discussing homosexual unions, said that the issue needs careful consideration before a decision is made. Senior members of his party have called for legalization, though the party itself has not voiced opinion.
Activists have pushed for legalizing same-sex unions in Japan as a way to help the country to attract foreign businesses. Speaking to Reuters, Masa Yanagisawa, head of prime services at Goldman Sachs and a board member of Marriage for All Japan, an activist group, said that “International firms are reviewing their Asian strategy and LGBTQ inclusivity is becoming a topic.”
“International businesses don’t want to invest in a location that isn’t LGBTQ friendly,” continued Yanagisawa.
Japan is the only G7 country that has yet to legalize same-sex unions.