On Monday, March 6, the main opposition party in Japan proposed a bill for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the country, hoping to put pressure on the government ahead of the next G7 summit in May.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan submitted the bill in question to parliament today, proposing to amend the wording in the country’s Civil Code that describes marriage as a union between partners of different sexes. The party had already submitted a similar bill in 2019, but it wasn’t discussed in parliament.
Acting Chief of the Constitutional Democratic Party, Chinami Nishimura, commented on the introduction of the bill, saying: “I think it’s discrimination if marriage is recognised legally for heterosexual couples but not same-sex couples”.
Japan is due to host the next G7 summit of advanced democracies in May, and it is the only G7 nation that does not recognise same-sex marriage. At last year’s summit that took place in Germany, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signed a document that affirmed the “shared values” of the G7 members and the commitment to “ensuring that everyone – independent of their gender identity or expression or sexual orientation — has the same opportunities and is protected against discrimination and violence.”
💍 Japan's main opposition party has submitted a bill to parliament to approve same-sex marriage.
🇯🇵 It comes days after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the country's ban on same-sex unions was not "unjust discrimination". pic.twitter.com/XxGnmCNdOF
— Openly 🏳️🌈 (@Openly) March 6, 2023
Despite this, the current Japanese government has been cautious about the legalisation of same-sex marriage, with many of the ruling party members expressing their opposition to marriage equality in favour of respecting “traditional family values”. Prime Minister Kishida himself came under fire recently after he said that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is “not unconstitutional”.
“I don’t think disallowing same-sex couples to marry is unjust discrimination by the state,” he said when questioned about the ban.
Several couples in Japan have failed lawsuits with local courts claiming that the ban on same-sex marriage violates their constitutional rights. Last November, a court in Tokyo ruled that, while the ban itself is not unconstitutional, the lack of recognition for same-sex unions represented a violation of the human rights of LGBTQ+ people.
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