Japanese High Court Declares Denial of Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional, Urges Legislative Action

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 11:17 am

In a landmark ruling today, March 14th, a Japanese high court declared the denial of same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, calling for immediate government action to rectify the absence of legislation permitting such unions.

The ruling, issued by the Sapporo High Court, emphasized that the current interpretation of marriage law, which confines marriage to heterosexual couples, infringes upon the fundamental rights of same-sex couples to form a family. While the court lacks the authority to nullify existing marriage laws, it urged legislative measures to either amend the current law to encompass LGBTQ+ unions or enact new legislation explicitly allowing for diverse forms of marriage.

This decision echoes similar rulings from lower courts, with the Sapporo High Court becoming the sixth district court to affirm the unconstitutionality of Japan’s exclusionary stance on same-sex marriage. However, the ruling maintains the status quo, meaning government offices can still deny marriage status to same-sex couples until legal reforms are implemented.

Prior court judgments have underscored the discriminatory nature of Japan’s marriage policy, with five previous district court rulings either deeming it unconstitutional or approaching that conclusion. Notably, the Sapporo High Court’s ruling stands out for explicitly labeling the existing marriage law as unconstitutional.

Japan’s stance on same-sex marriage places it as the only member of the Group of Seven nations that does not grant legal recognition and spousal benefits to same-sex couples. Despite growing calls for equality and inclusivity, Japan’s legal framework remains unchanged, prompting further pressure for legislative reforms to uphold the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *