This is the country’s largest ever push for marriage equality
A lesbian couple in northern Japan became the 13th couple to join a nationwide campaign to sue the Japanese government to recognize same-sex marriages.
The two women submitted their marriage registration documents to Sapporo’s Chuo Ward office this week, according to Asahi Shimbun.
They expect authorities to reject their application. Then, they plan to join 12 other couples in filing damages against the central government on 14 February.
‘It’s unfair that same-sex couples are not able to enjoy the rights given to heterosexual couples,’ said the couple’s lawyer, Takeharu Kato.
Last month, ten couples announced they would file suits in courts across the country.
They are seeking compensation from the government. The couples’ lawsuit states that the government’s position on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Article 24 of Japan’s constitution says ‘marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.’
Lawyers representing the couples argue this includes same-sex marriages.
‘Marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution, and this should be applied to same-sex couples’ Takeharu Kato said.
Japan’s push for LGBTI rights
Japan’s largely conservative society does not allow same-sex marriage.
What’s more, there is no nationwide legislation to protect LGBTI people from discrimination based on their sexuality or gender identity.
But, a growing number of cites throughout Japan have allowed same-sex couples to officially register with their local municipal governments under the partnership oath system.
Politicians from Japan’s ruling party, meanwhile, are known for making anti-LGBTI comments.
But, Japan’s opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) plans to introduce marriage equality legislation to the parliament this year.
The CDP is planning to submit revisions to the civil code to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
A change.org petition demanding marriage equality has also nearly reached 5,000 signatures.
Japan came under fire from rights activists on Thursday. Japan’s Supreme Court upheld law No. 111. It requires transgender people under got sterilization before changing their gender on official documents.
Currently, no country in Asia recognizes same-sex unions.
Although, in May this year, equal marriage will become law in Taiwan. Thailand has also made steps toward recognizing same-sex unions.
by Rik Glauert
Source – Gay Star News