Much to the chagrin of LGBTQ+ activists during Pride Month, a ruling from a Japanese court came down this week that stated that Japan's current same-sex marriage ban was not found to be in violation of its constitution.
This past Monday, Judge Doi Fumi of the Osaka District Court ruled that Article 24 of Japan’s Constitution did not give any protections for gay marriage. The plaintiffs in the case were three same-sex couples, one female and two male, who filed a lawsuit for 1 million yen per couple in damages, which roughly equates to about $7,400. All three couples have stated they plan to try and appeal to the Osaka High Court concerning the recent ruling handed down.
The district court that issued the ruling showed that they agreed with the government's argument that the entire purpose of marriage was for reproduction, as stated in the translations taken from Yahoo! Japan. The court went on to add that the entire system of marriage served a much greater "pragmatic purpose" of "protecting men and women to bear children and raise them."
1. Osaka district court sided with the argument from the country of Japan which said that the "purpose of marriage was reproduction" & agreed with the definition that "marriage is a relationship between a man & a woman to bear children and raise them together in cohabitation." pic.twitter.com/7FN0dJ0Cx3
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"Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis," stated an excerpt from the Constitution of Japan.
machi Sakata, one plaintiff in the case, stated to Reuters that she highly doubted that the legal system was working at all. It seems that Sakata and her partner, a U.S. citizen, were banking on the ruling in the run-up to the birth of one of their kids.
"I think there’s a possibility this ruling may really corner us," claimed Sakata.
As stated in a translation that was provided by BBC, the opinion of the district court did have some speculation in its ruling that individual dignity just might make necessary the issuing of marriage benefits for same-sex couples.
"From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realise the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognised through official recognition," stated the ruling.
This most recent ruling runs much the same way as similar lawsuits that were filed in Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka by various same-sex couples back in 2019. The court for the Sapporo District issued its ruling last March that stated that the same-sex marriage ban was entirely unconstitutional, claiming that Article 14 of the Constitution of Japan mandated equal laws for all Japanese citizens.
"All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin. Peers and peerage shall not be recognized," states the article.
Despite the fact that Japan as a whole bans same-sex marriage, various local governments around the country have been recognizing same-sex partnerships for many years. Osaka, the city in which this particular district court sits, does indeed offer such recognition. It was also the very first in its country to officially recognize two gay men as eligible foster parents back in 2017.