Japanese same-sex marriage campaign group Marriage for All Japan has vowed to continue to fight for equal marriage following an Osaka court’s ruling that the current ban was constitutional. Spokesperson Masa Yanagisawa said that the ban was damaging Japan’s international reputation, commenting 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.”
Osaka’s district court’s ruling dismissed the arguments of three same-sex couples, saying “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,” before adding that the current failure to recognise equal marriage was “not considered to violate…the constitution”, and that “public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out”.
Machita Sakata, who had previously married her partner in Oregon, expressed dismay, telling reporters, “Nothing can replace [marriage]. I feel nothing but resentment. It’s like they’re saying: ‘We don’t treat you equally but that’s OK, right?’.” Ms Sakata’s lawyer, Akiyoshi Miwa, said that she was “shocked” at the court’s ruling.
Japan’s constitution specifically defines marriage as being between two people of the opposite sex and, while some local authorities have taken steps to recognise same-sex partnerships, such recognition falls far short of offering the same rights and legal protections as marriage.
Prime Minister Kishida has acknowledged that the issue needs to be addressed, although his government has yet to announce plans for any new legislation.
Taiwan remains the only country in Asia which has legalised same-sex marriage.
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