A district court in Osaka, Japan, has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution.
The decision dealt a blow to same-sex couples and human rights activists after another district court in Sapporo ruled in 2021 that non-recognition of same-sex marriage was “unconstitutional”.
The Japanese constitution defines marriage as a marriage between two persons of “both sexes”.
Japan is the only country in the G7 industrialized countries where same-sex marriage is prohibited.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Japanese support allowing same-sex marriage in the country.
Several regions, including Tokyo, have begun issuing life partnership certificates to help same-sex couples rent a property and qualify for hospital visits.
The case was brought in Osaka by three same-sex couples, a man and a woman, and the case is the second of its kind in a country that maintains a conservative attitude towards homosexuality.
In addition to dismissing their claim that being unable to marry is unconstitutional, the court also dismissed their claims for 1 million yen ($7,414) in damages per spouse for what they called “unfair discrimination” for that they were not allowed to marry.
But the court also noted that public debate about same-sex marriage was not enough and that “it might be possible to create a new regime” that recognizes the interests of same-sex couples.
In its ruling, the court said: “In terms of personal dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to recognize the benefit of same-sex couples from public recognition.”
The court stated that “the public discussion about which regime is suitable for this has not been carried out comprehensively.”
The Kyodo news agency reported that prosecutors plan to appeal the decision.
Source: BBC + Kyodo News