Japanese Same-Sex Couple Suing Government Over Marriage Right

A lesbian couple in Northern Japan has become the 13th same-sex couple to take a legal case against the Japanese Government over their right to marry.

Pride Parade in Japanese city

A lesbian couple in Japan submitted their documents for marriage registration this week to Sapporo’s Chuo Ward office, and are expecting to have their application rejected. They are planning on joining 12 other same-sex couples in filing damages against the Japanese government on February 14.

Takeharu Kato, the couple’s lawyer, said, “It’s unfair that same-sex couples are not able to enjoy the rights given to heterosexual couples.”

In December, ten couples announced that they planned to file lawsuits against the government claiming that the government’s position on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

This lawsuit refers to Article 24 of the Japanese constitution which states that “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.”

However, the Japanese government claim that this refers to marriages between a man and a woman.

Takeharu Kato added, “Marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution, and this should be applied to same-sex couples.”

While Japan does not allow same-sex marriages, there are also no legal protections for LGBT+ citizens in the country.

However, a number of cities in the country have introduced same-sex partnerships through a partnership oath system, where people in same-sex couples who are not already married and are 20 years or older are given a receipt of their relationship after taking the oath.

It has been a hostile environment for LGBT+ people in Japan over the decades. Last July, Mio Sugita, a lower-house lawmaker, described LGBT+ people as ‘unproductive’ and stated that they should not be allowed to claim welfare, leading to protests.

Japan’s opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) have said that they plan on introducing marriage equality legislation to the parliament this year.

Meanwhile, a Change.org petition calling for marriage equality in Japan has gathered over 6,000 signatures.

There has also been outrage this week over the Japanese Supreme Court’s decision to uphold law no. 111, which requires transgender people to undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender.

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