Judge issued ruling in Nagoya
In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Nagoya District Court became the second major higher court in the country to rule that the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Presiding Judge Osamu Nishimura said more people have become supportive of recognizing same-sex marriage, and the reasoning behind excluding same-sex couples from the legal marriage system is becoming shaky, resulting in a situation that is difficult to ignore, the Kyodo News agency reported.
Kyodo also noted the court pointed out that the public remains divided over the issue, and it was only in 2015 that a system to issue certificates recognizing same-sex couples as being in relationships equivalent to marriage was introduced by local governments in Japan for the first time.
In March 2021 the Sapporo District Court issued its ruling that the local in Sapporo government’s actions violated two provisions of the Japanese Constitution: Article 14 that ensures the right to equal treatment and Article 24, which does not expressly deny the right of marriage to same-sex couples.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Nishimura echoed the Sapporo decision saying that a failure to recognize same-sex marriage violates Article 14 of the constitution, which stipulates that all people are equal, and Article 24, which stipulates that laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.
The two rulings are at odds with opinions issued by other high courts across Japan. Public Media Broadcaster NHK reported that in June 2022 the Osaka District Court ruled that the ban does not violate the constitution. The judge said Article 24 stipulates that marriage shall be based on the mutual consent of parties from both sexes.
The Tokyo District Court also ruled the ban constitutional in November that year. At the same time, the judge said not providing legal protections for same-sex families represents an unconstitutional state.
With this second ruling, pressure is building on the Japanese Diet (Parliament) to legalize same-sex unions.
The case, brought by two male residents in a relationship from Aichi Prefecture, were represented by attorney Yoko Mizushima who told reporters: This ruling has rescued us from the hurt of last year ruling that said there was nothing wrong with the ban, and the hurt of what the government keeps saying, referring to the June 2022, Osaka District Court ruling last year that the ban was not unconstitutional.
by Brody Levesque
Source – The Washington Blade