A court in Japan on Wednesday ruled that the failure to recognize same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a first in the country that was immediately hailed as a victory by equal rights activists. The court of first instance of Sapporo (north) ruled that the non-recognition of marriage between two men or two women was contrary to article 14 of the Constitution, which stipulates that “all citizens are equal before the law”.
Japan is the last G7 country not to recognize universal marriage. The State considers that such a union is “not provided for” by the Constitution of 1947, which confines itself to stressing, with regard to marriage, the need for “mutual consent of the two sexes”, which leaves room for a lot of interpretation. This judgment is the first to be rendered in legal actions against the Japanese state initiated by a dozen homosexual couples in 2019 to obtain legal recognition of their unions.
“I could not hold back my tears,” reacted one of the complainants to the press. “The court sincerely looked at our problem and I think it really made a good decision.” The elected opposition Kanako Otsuji, one of the few politicians in Japan openly LGBT, said in a tweet “really, really happy” with this decision. “I call on the Diet, as a legislative branch of the state, to deliberate on a proposal to amend the civil code to make possible” same-sex unions, she added.