Japanese court rules non-recognition of gay marriage as unconstitutional

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A court in Japan ruled on Wednesday that the failure to recognize same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a first in the country that was immediately hailed as a victory by equal rights activists.

The court of first instance of Sapporo (north) ruled that the non-recognition of gay marriage was contrary to article 14 of the Constitution, which stipulates that “all citizens are equal before the law”, according to a copy of its decision consulted by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Read also: Taiwan legalizes gay marriage, a first in Asia

Japan is the last G7 country not to recognize same-sex marriage. The State considers that such a union is “not provided for” by the Constitution of 1947, which confines itself to stressing, with regard to marriage, the need for “mutual consent of the two sexes”, which leaves room for a lot of interpretation.

The joy of activists

This judgment is the first to be rendered in legal proceedings against the Japanese state initiated by a dozen homosexual couples in 2019 to obtain legal recognition of their unions.

“I could not hold back my tears,” reacted one of the complainants to the press. “The court sincerely looked at our problem and I think it really made a good decision.”

The elected opposition Kanako Otsuji, one of the few politicians in Japan openly LGBT, said in a tweet “really, really happy” with this decision. “I call on the Diet, as a legislative branch of the state, to deliberate on a proposal to amend the civil code to make possible” same-sex unions, she added.