Evidently, Japan isn’t nearly so enlightened as the United States.
On Monday — amid Pride Month — Osaka District Court’s Judge Doi Fumi issued a ruling on gay marriage.
At issue was whether the nation’s lack of same-sex marriage violated its constitution.
A discrimination claim had been filed by three gay couples — one female and two male. They were suing for one million yen ($7,400) in damages per couple.
As reported by The Associated Press, they aren’t the only ones to have taken legal course:
The plaintiffs…were among 14 same-sex couples who filed lawsuits against the government in five major cities — Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka — in 2019 for violating rights to free union and equality.
Last year, a Sapporo court declared the marriage situation unconstitutional.
However, per Judge Doi in Osaka, it in no way conflicts with the nation’s Article 24.
The AP notes Japan’s cultural condition:
Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, work and at home, causing many to hide their sexual identities.
Rights groups had pushed for passage of an equality act ahead of last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, when international attention was focused on Japan, but the bill was quashed by the conservative governing party.
The Osaka court asserted that the 1947 constitution’s freedom-of-marriage provision only applies to opposite-sex unions. Furthermore, the judge has an old-fashioned idea of what marriage is for:
Judge Fumi Doi said marriage for heterosexual couples is a system established by society to protect a relationship between men and women who bear and raise children, and that ways to protect same-sex relationships are still undergoing public debate.
As for marriage being enshrined as a means of rearing children, I daresay such was once the view in America. But that notion — like many others that once underpinned society — has been ushered out. Even so, a ruling such as Judge Doi’s wouldn’t have been notably out of place relatively few years ago.
Despite the Japanese court’s decision, it did encourage parliament to find ways to protect gay relationships — including, possibly, efforts toward legalizing same-sex marriage.
But for now, gay marriage is a no-go.
At a news conference, plaintiff Akiyoshi Tanaka said a win would’ve fueled the need for parliamentary action.
Even so, he asserted, “We don’t have time to feel discouraged.”
The plaintiffs plan to appeal.
As noted by the AP, Japan is “the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex unions.”
But culturally, it’s catching up:
Public opinion in Japan currently favors legalizing same-sex marriage.
Under current rules in Japan, same-sex couples cannot inherit each other’s property, house or other assets they share, and have no parental rights over each other’s children. They are often barred from renting apartments together, and from hospital visits and other services available to married couples.
More than 200 municipalities across Japan, or 12% of the total, have begun issuing non-legally binding partnership certificates to same-sex couples since Tokyo’s Shibuya district became the first to do so in 2015.
The Tokyo metropolitan government recently adopted a plan to accept registrations starting in October from sexual-minority couples seeking certificates of their partnerships.
America may be far from number one in education, but where wokeness is concerned, we’re leading the pack.
Why is Japan lagging so far behind?
Perhaps a plethora of theories abound, but a recent one is sure to turn heads:
Breasts Are Saving Japan From Woke Culture! https://t.co/Dtbgh7hvFy
— RelaxedMale (@relaxedmale) June 17, 2022
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