In landmark ruling, Japan court says it is ‘unconstitutional’ to bar same-sex marriage

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03/16/2021

A Japanese court ruled on Wednesday that not allowing same-sex couples to get married is “unconstitutional,” setting a precedent in the only G7 nation not to fully recognize same-sex partnership. The ruling by a district court, the first in Japan on the legality of same-sex marriages, is a major symbolic victory in a country where the constitution still defines marriage as being based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”. Following the ruling, plaintiffs and supporters unfurled rainbow flags and banners in front of the court. While a new law will be needed before same-sex marriages can actually take place – which could take some time in socially conservative Japan – the plaintiffs’ lawyer called the ruling “revolutionary”, while LGBT activists deemed it life-changing. “Its value is absolutely measureless,” said 44-year old Gon Matsunaka, director of activist group Marriage for All Japan and representative of Pride House Tokyo.

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