New Court Ruling Could Pave Way to Making Gay Marriage Legal in Japan

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The Sapporo district court in Japan just ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage in Japan. The landmark decision, which is the first of its kind in the country’s history, is being seen by gay rights advocates as a symbolic civil rights victory. Japan is the only G-7 nation that has yet to recognize same-sex marriage. 

The court found that a same-sex marriage ban violates Article 14 of the Japanese constitution, which prohibits discriminaton due to “”race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.” The ruling stemmed from a case filed by thirteen couples on Valentine’s Day 2019.  

This means that children of same-sex couples have to be registered as having only one parent, and many couples have to apply for a partnership certificate for help with renting apartments and hospital visits. However, these do not guarantee inheritance rights or custody of a partner’s children. So far, there are 74 municipalities that provide these certificates.

Instead, a new law would have to be passed, which may be some time away. Thankfully, an opinion poll showed that two-thirds of respondents supported the court ruling.