Japan court rejects notion same-sex couples are de facto marriages

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06/04/2020

A Japanese district court on Thursday rejected a request by a man to overturn a prefectural commission’s decision deeming him ineligible for victims’ compensation as a surviving family member after his same-sex partner was murdered. “I cannot recognize same-sex relationships as de facto marriages,” presiding Judge Masatake Kakutani said in the hearing at the Nagoya District Court where Yasuhide Uchiyama, 45, challenged the decision made by the Aichi Prefectural Public Safety Commission in December 2017. In order for Uchiyama to be recognized as a de facto spouse, “two people of the same sex living together must first be regarded as equal to marriage in society,” Kakutani said. Whether a same-sex partnership could be considered a de facto marital relationship was a major point of contention in the trial, as it would make Uchiyama eligible for victims’ compensation as a surviving family member if so. “It is extremely disappointing that my request was rejected on the basis that same-sex couples are not sufficiently accepted in society,” Uchiyama said at a news conference following the trial.

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