A Japanese district court held Tuesday the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Marriage for All Japan, a Japanese organization fighting for marriage equality, shared the Nagoya District Court in Japan’s opinion in a tweet.
Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution states that “[m]arriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes,” which some have previously interpreted to mean that only a man and woman are able to marry. However, the court found that the second paragraph of Article 24 ensures equality among all people, including the choice of spouse. The court explained that because the government does not provide an equivalent framework for same-sex couples to have their marriages recognized, it also violates Article 14’s guarantee of equality under the law.
As of January 2023, only 65 percent of local governments in Japan offer some form of recognition for same-sex partnerships. Tuesday’s decision prompted a push for residents to encourage their lawmakers to support the national recognition of same-sex marriage.
Japan has a fraught history with LGBTQ+ rights, lagging behind many other countries. For example, the first time the country recognized a same-sex foster couple was in 2017.
Around the world, LGBTQ+ rights continue to face pushback. Most recently, on Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 into law, criminalizing homosexuality.