Japan’s Failure to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

In a trial in which three same-sex couples living in Hokkaido filed a complaint that it was against the Constitution that same-sex marriage was not allowed, the Sapporo District Court said, “It is a discriminatory treatment that lacks rational grounds and is under the law. It violates the Constitution that stipulates equality before the law. ” On the other hand, the lawsuit for compensation from the country was rejected.

Three same-sex couples living in Hokkaido have filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from the country, saying that not allowing marriage between the same sex “violates the constitution that stipulates freedom of marriage and equality before the law.” I got married.

In a ruling on the 17th, Judge Tomoko Takebe of the Sapporo District Court said, “The difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals is only the difference in sexual orientation that cannot be selected by the will of the person, and there is no difference in the legal benefits that can be received. I have to say. ”
On top of that, the Civil Code does not allow same-sex marriage, saying, “It is unreasonable discriminatory treatment beyond the scope of legislative discretion that homosexuals cannot enjoy even a part of the legal benefits generated by marriage.” And the provisions of the Family Register Act made the first judgment that it violated the constitution that stipulated equality before the law.

On the other hand, the lawsuit seeking compensation from the government said, “It was only recently that the Diet began to discuss the protection of same-sex couples, and it was not easy to immediately recognize that it was in a state of unconstitutional law.” I rejected it.

Similar class action proceedings have been filed in five places in total, including Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, and this was the first decision.

After the judgment was handed down, the supporters applauded when the lawyer representing the plaintiff put up a piece of paper in front of the Sapporo District Court stating, “Unconstitutional judgment, a big step toward marriage equality.”

Regarding the decision, plaintiff Ryosuke Kunimi, who lives in Obihiro City, said, “I think it was a decision that took our issue seriously, but this does not mean that same-sex marriage will be recognized immediately, so we will continue to fight. I will continue. ”
A plaintiff woman living in Sapporo said, “Since this result was obtained in the court, the country will only move. I want you to accept the judgment and consider it properly.”

Regarding this decision, the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice commented, “At this stage, it is a decision before it is finalized, and similar trials are being held in other courts, so I would like to pay close attention to that decision.”

Regarding the ruling, Professor Masayuki Tanamura of Waseda University School of Law pointed out that “not allowing same-sex marriage is a groundbreaking ruling that is extremely unreasonable discrimination and violates equality before the law.” ..
On top of that, “The point of this decision was how the judge would judge that the consciousness and social situation of the people would change with the times. With this decision, the law to guarantee the rights will be put in place immediately. This is not to say, but it will also be an opportunity for discussions in the Diet on how to protect the rights of same-sex couples. ”

It’s the first time that it’s unconstitutional to say that same-sex marriage isn’t allowed, but over the last few years, more and more judicial decisions have shown that same-sex couples have the same rights as male and female couples. I am.

In March last year, the Tokyo High Court said, “The two are of the same sex and cannot legally report their marriage, but men and women cannot be married,” asked if a former partner of the same sex would be required to pay compensation if they broke up due to an affair. It can be said that the relationship was similar to that of a marriage.

In addition, in a trial in which a Taiwanese man who received an order to deport for illegal stay demanded the cancellation of the order to be deported because he had a Japanese same-sex partner, the Ministry of Justice, who was consulted by the court, filed a complaint against the man. Withdrew the evacuation order and issued a special residence permit.

On the other hand, in a trial in which a man who had been killed by a same-sex partner who lived with him sued Aichi Prefecture for not being granted the benefits to be paid to the bereaved family of the crime victim, the Nagoya District Court said in June last year that he was of the same sex. Regarding the legal position of the couple, he dismissed the complaint, saying that “it is in the process of social debate and a social convention that can be equated with marital relations has not been formed.”

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