Japanese District Court Says Ban on Gay Marriage is Unconstitutional

In Japan a district court has determined that the country’s ban on gay marriage is “unconstitutional.”

The ruling followed a case in which a same-sex couple sued for “symbolic damages” over their inability to get married. There have been at least a dozen similar cases across Japan.

A court in Sapporo rejected the couple’s two million yen ($18,000) compensation claim, yet it still found that a ban on their marriage violated their constitutional right to equal treatment under the law.

Japan’s constitution defines marriage as one of “mutual consent between both sexes.” Lawyers arguing on behalf of the same-sex couple, however, claim this prohibits forced marriages and does not ipso facto ban gay marriage.

Gay activists are hailing the decision as a victory and an important first step in “marriage equality.” They understand that declaring gay marriage constitutional and legalizing gay marriage are two separate matters. It could take months or years for Japan to legalize gay marriage. Support for gay marriage is popular among the young but unpopular among older generations.

The only independent nation in Asia to have legalized gay marriage is Taiwan. That occurred in May 2019, not even two full years ago.

Last summer Big League Politics covered Russia’s decision to ban the possibility of legalizing gay marriage:

On June 1, 2020, Russia officially enshrined traditional marriage — a union between a man and a woman— in its constitution.

Russia’s new constitution also officially recognizes the role that the Orthodox Church has played in the history and the development of the Russian state.

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