Home WORLD NEWS In Landmark Judgment, Japan High Court Lifts Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

In Landmark Judgment, Japan High Court Lifts Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

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In Landmark Judgment, Japan High Court Lifts Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

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New Delhi: In a landmark decision, the high court in Sapporo, Japan, declared the country’s prohibition on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Thursday, marking the first ruling of its kind by an appeals court and highlighting a deep-seated division within the judiciary, news agency Reuters reported.

Japan stands as the only nation among the Group of Seven (G7) without legal safeguards for same-sex partnerships, a stance upheld despite approximately 70% public support but opposed staunchly by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Labelling the Japanese civil code’s restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples as both “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory,” the Sapporo High Court’s verdict challenged the existing legal framework, although it did not grant the plaintiffs’ request for government compensation.

“Enacting same-sex marriage does not seem to cause disadvantages or harmful effects,” the court said, as reported by the news agency.

Representing the plaintiffs, lawyer Tsunamori Fumiyasu expressed intentions to appeal to the Supreme Court to seek clarification on the current law’s constitutional violations during a press briefing.

Meanwhile, the government, according to top spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi, expressed a commitment to monitoring forthcoming court decisions on the matter closely.

The contentious issue has generated conflicting rulings across lower courts, with some district courts affirming the constitutionality of the ban while others, including the recent Tokyo district court decision earlier on Thursday, characterised Japan’s lack of recognition for same-sex marriage as “a state of unconstitutionality,” albeit with less forceful language than prior judgments.

These rulings underscored the consensus that the prohibition encroaches upon citizens’ rights, a sentiment embraced by activists even as they cautioned that the ultimate milestone of legalising same-sex unions would necessitate legislative action.

“I thought the ruling might be a conservative one, but it ended up exceeding my expectations. I couldn’t help but cry,” Reuters quoted a plaintiff as saying.

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