Japan Court OKs Legal Protection over Failed Same-Sex Partnership

Society

Tokyo, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)--In a landmark ruling, a Japanese district court on Wednesday ordered a woman to pay damages to her former same-sex partner following the collapse of their de facto marriage resulting from the defendant's infidelity.

In Japan, where homosexual marriage is not authorized by law, this is probably the first court ruling giving legal protection to a person in a same-sex partnership, according to a lawyer for the plaintiff. "It's a groundbreaking ruling, and it is expected to affect other lawsuits and (the government's) work on legislation related to same-sex marriage," the lawyer said.

The Moka branch of Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, ordered the defendant to pay 1.1 million yen in damages, including consolation money, to the plaintiff, in her 30s. The plaintiff, who married the defendant in the United States, where same-sex marriage is legal, had sought damages of some 6.3 million yen.

"There is a strong need to provide people in same-sex relationships with a certain level of legal protection in line with their actual situations," Judge Yosuke Nakahata at the branch said, adding that they are qualified to receive protection similar to that for people in common-law marriage.

The judge said that the diversification of values and lifestyles "has rendered it difficult to conclude that marriages must be limited to between a man and a woman."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press