Japanese Court Rulings Banning Same-Sex Marriage Not Unconstitutional in LGBTQ Rights Setback

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TOKYO (Reuters) – An Osaka court ruled on Monday that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was not “unconstitutional”, dealing a blow to LGBTQ rights activists in the only Group of Seven country that does not does not allow people of the same sex to marry.

Three same-sex couples had filed the case in Osaka District Court, only the second to be heard on the matter in Japan. In addition to rejecting their claim that the ban violates Japan’s constitution, the court denied their claim for 1 million yen ($7,414) in damages.

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The decision dashed activists’ hopes of pressuring the Japanese government to address the issue after a court in Sapporo in March 2021 ruled in favor of a claim that not allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Japanese constitution defines marriage as being based on “mutual consent of both sexes”, but increasing public support in opinion polls for same-sex marriage and the introduction of partnership rights for same-sex couples in the capital of Tokyo last week, had raised the hopes of activists and lawyers in the Osaka case.

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($1 = 134.8800 yen)

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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