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SOCIETY > Human Rights

Osaka court rejects same-sex marriage claim

  • June 20, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 6:12 p.m.
  • English Press

Osaka, June 20 (Jiji Press)–A court in western Japan rejected a damages claim by three same-sex couples against the state on Monday, finding that same-sex marriage not being allowed in the country is not unconstitutional.

 

The ruling by Osaka District Court came after Sapporo District Court ruled in March last year that the current situation violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures legal equality, while rejecting such a damages claim.

 

Similar lawsuits are also underway at district courts in Tokyo and the cities of Nagoya and Fukuoka.

 

In the Osaka lawsuit, the couples, who live in Aichi, Kyoto and Kagawa prefectures, demanded 1 million yen per person in damages, claiming that the Constitution’s Article 24, which guarantees freedom of marriage, should apply to same-sex couples, as well.

 

The plaintiffs also argued that the situation in which same-sex couples cannot marry or receive benefits such as spousal tax deductions, as well as inheritance and other rights, violates Article 14.

 

In addition, they alleged that the Diet, the country’s parliament, had neglected to take legislative measures to improve the situation, and that this negligence was illegal.

 

The government insisted that as the current legal system does not assume same-sex marriage, the Constitution accepts same-sex couples being treated differently from those who marry someone of a different sex.

 

At the Osaka court on Monday, presiding Judge Fumi Doi said that Article 24 refers only to different-sex marriage.

 

The lack of legislation allowing same-sex marriage “may be unconstitutional in the future,” but it “cannot be recognized as unconstitutional at this stage” since sufficient discussions have not been made on what kind of benefits should be given to same-sex couples, the judge said.

 

Referring to the plaintiffs’ claim over Article 14, Doi said, “Gaps between same-sex couples and different-sex couples on receivable benefits are beginning to be eliminated or reduced to a considerable extent.”

 

The gaps can be reduced further through a system similar to marriage and case-by-case legislation, the judge added.

 

The plaintiffs plan to file an appeal against the ruling.

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