Japan Court Rules that Not Allowing Same-sex Marriage is ‘In a State of Unconstitutionality’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Fukuoka District Court and The Fukuoka High Court. In Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture

Fukuoka, June 8 (Jiji Press)—Fukuoka District Court in southwestern Japan ruled Thursday that existing law provisions that do not recognize same-sex marriage are in a state of unconstitutionality.

It was the fifth ruling in a series of similar lawsuits filed with five district courts across the country.

Among the four other courts, the law provisions were found unconstitutional by the Sapporo and Nagoya district courts in northern and central Japan, respectively, constitutional by Osaka District Court in western Japan and in a state of unconstitutionality by Tokyo District Court.

All five courts rejected the plaintiffs’ damages claims against the state. The plaintiffs have already appealed or are considering appealing the rulings to high courts.

In the Fukuoka case, a total of three same-sex couples in Fukuoka and Kumamoto prefectures sought damages of ¥1 million each. They argued that the law provisions violate the constitutional principles of equality under law and freedom of marriage.

In the Fukuoka court on Thursday, Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Ueda pointed out that same-sex couples are at a serious disadvantage as they are unable to enjoy the benefits of the marriage system.