The court hearing was a case brought by three same-sex couples in 2019 who were seeking government compensation for the difficulties they had to suffer from not being able to legally marry. In Japan, same-sex relationships are legal, but same-sex couples do not have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. For example, same-sex couples cannot inherit their partner’s assets and have no parental rights to any children their partners may have.
Although the court dismissed the couples’ claims for damages, Sapporo District Court in Hokkaido ruled Wednesday that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures the right to equality.
The ruling alone will not legalize same-sex marriage in the country – it would need a Supreme Court ruling, which could take several years. However, the ruling is still significant as it is a step towards legalizing same-sex marriage.
Although long cemented cultural norms and conservative attitudes towards homosexuality will remain & many LGBTQ Japanese still would not dare come out to their friends and family, this is a monumental first step towards achieving a society more tolerant to diversity in a country where the pressure for conformity is historically strong.
Read more about it here.