Japan Court Says Not Approving Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional
Sapporo, March 17 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese court said Wednesday that the lack of official recognition for same-sex marriage in the country is unconstitutional, in the first ruling on a string of lawsuits related to same-sex marriage across the country.
In the ruling, Sapporo District Court dismissed a claim by three same-sex couples living in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido for damages of 1 million yen per person from the Japanese government.
The Sapporo court found that the current situation in which same-sex couples cannot receive legal benefits due to their lack of official recognition violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures legal equality.
The rejection of same-sex marriage is "discrimination based on no reasonable grounds," Presiding Judge Tomoko Takebe said.
The judge added, however, that as many people in the country have come to view same-sex marriage positively only recently, it has not been easy for the government to acknowledge the unconstitutional situation immediately.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]