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Japanese court rules ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

The plaintiffs are planning to appeal to the Osaka high court.

Published: June 21, 2022 12:34pm

Updated: June 21, 2022 1:02pm

A Japanese court has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the country's constitution.

Judge Doi Fumi, of the Osaka District Court, ruled Monday that the Japanese Constitution does not confer protections on gay marriage. The plaintiffs in the case, three same-sex couples, say they will appeal the ruling to the Osaka High Court.

The court agreed with the case presented by the government, which argued that the purpose of marriage is reproduction. Furthermore, the court determined, according to a translation of the ruling, that marriage serves the "pragmatic purpose" of "protecting men and women to bear children and raise them together in cohabitation."

"Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis," reads the Japanese Constitution.

The ruling, according to a BBC translation, did recognize that for the sake of "individual dignity," there is likely "some benefit" to officially recognizing same-sex couples. 

Though Japan has a blanket ban on same-sex marriage, individual, local governments have recognized same-sex couplings for years. Such is the case in the city within which the Osaka district court lies. 

Recently, the capital city of Tokyo adopted a law that will grant recognition certificates to same-sex pairings. The certificates allow same-sex couples many of the same rights afforded to married couples, like hospital visitation rights, etc. Though, joint tax filing and spousal inheritance are not included on the list of what the certificates permit.

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