Japan High Court Deems Same-Sex Marriage Ban As Unconstitutional

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Japan High Court Deems Same-Sex Marriage Ban As Unconstitutional

| Updated: March 15, 2024 12:59

The Sapporo High Court in northern Japan declared on Thursday that the country’s prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This is the first time an appeals court has made such a ruling, marking a significant turning point in a contentious issue that has divided the lower judiciary.

Japan stands alone as the only Group of Seven nation without legal safeguards for same-sex partnerships. Despite this, the Sapporo High Court rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for compensation from the government.

One of the plaintiffs, who chose to remain anonymous, expressed his surprise and relief at the ruling. “I had anticipated a conservative verdict, but it surpassed my expectations,” he confessed to reporters, unable to hold back his tears.

The constitutionality of Japan’s laws against same-sex marriage has been a subject of intense debate among lower courts. While one district court upheld the ban as constitutional, others have deemed it unconstitutional to varying extents.

Public opinion appears to be shifting, with 2023 polls indicating that approximately 70% of the population supports same-sex marriage. However, this view is not shared by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which remains opposed to it.

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