Osaka Court backs denial of same-sex marriage

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Plaintiffs and others walk toward the Osaka District Court Monday to attend a court session to hear a ruling on same-sex marriage.

OSAKA (Jiji Press) — A court in western Japan rejected a damages claim by three same-sex couples against the state on Monday, finding that same-sex marriage being not allowed in the country is not unconstitutional.

The ruling by Osaka District Court came after Sapporo District Court ruled in March last year that the current situation violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures legal equality, although it, too, rejected such a damages claim.

Similar lawsuits are also underway at district courts in Tokyo and the cities of Nagoya and Fukuoka.

In the Osaka lawsuit, the couples, who live in Aichi, Kyoto and Kagawa prefectures, demanded ¥1 million per person in damages, claiming that the Constitution’s Article 24, which guarantees freedom of marriage, should apply to same-sex couples, as well.

The plaintiffs also argued that the situation in which same-sex couples cannot marry or receive benefits such as spousal tax deductions, as well as inheritance and other rights, violates Article 14.

In addition, they alleged that the Diet, the country’s parliament, neglected to take legislative measures to improve the situation, and that the negligence is illegal.

The government insisted that as the current legal system does not assume same-sex marriage, the Constitution accepts same-sex couples being treated differently from those who marry someone of a different sex.