Same-Sex Marriage Ban Ruled Unconsitutional in Japan Court

Emma Di Coio, Reporter

In March, a Sapporo Court ruled that the same-sex marriage ban in Japan was unconstitutional. The majority opinion argued that this ban denied people constitutionally guaranteed equality and that the prohibition was, therefore, a violation of the equality of same-sex couples. Being the only developed nation to have this ban, Japan has taken a step towards equality and understanding. 

Senior Madison Martino comments on this important event for Japan. 

 “The insistence on the dehumanization of both gay people and same-sex marriage, in general, is a genuine thing in so many parts of the world that this ruling in Japan can bring so much positivity,” said Martino

Another senior at our school,Sabrina Magoski, also comments on the historic event.

“It’s a great step forward for the LGBTQ+ community, but with the many countries where it is still highly illegal, it could create tension between them and Japan,” said Magoski

This case was brought up to the court by various same-sex couples seeking compensation for their mental suffering as a result of this ban. Although the court rejected their claim of a million yen per person, they ruled that the ban was a violation of their constitutional rights. There are benefits to being a married couple versus a couple that lives together, so denying these benefits would not comply with Japan’s constitutional protections against discrimination. 

Magoski remarks on what may be areas that need refinement when it comes to protecting the LGBTQ community in Japan. 

“I think Japan should also implement protection laws for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Although, depending on how the public feels, this could be incredibly difficult because even here in the US, we are still fighting to be protected under the law,” said Magoski.

This notes on the still needed improvement as far as being inclusive of others and their identities. As this is a step in the right direction for the worldwide LGBTQ community, Japan still has a long way to become fully inclusive. 

Martino states her opinion on the needed advancement into more inclusivity for the LGBTQ memebers in Japan and other countries. 

“I think making same-sex marriage legal is a pretty big one, but even something like making sure there are representatives in politics and government officials is significant. Being represented is not only important for young queer people, but [to allies], once again in places like this, they love to dehumanize gay people, to make them seem not only lesser than but dangerous,” said Martino

This ruling in such an influential city is a good sign of inclusivity and equality. However, if other courts throughout the country fail to follow suit, same-sex couples still face much discrimination. It is one of the first pro-LGBTQ rulings in Japan, and many citizens are hopeful for change, even worldwide.

 Martino comments on this hopefully foreseeable change for more understanding towards the LGBTQ community and their idenities. 

“Japan is a widely respected country, and though some may not think so when a respected country does something, there are hundreds of others watching, who knows this may inspire other countries to take a good look at their justice system and how it affects LGBT communities,” said Martino. 

Magoski remarks on the hope for a change for increased embracing of all people no matter their sexualtiy.  

“I think this will ultimately be a good thing for the LGBTQ+ community. With acceptance spreading across the world, hopefully, other countries will begin to question their rulings and laws,” said Magoski. 

Throughout history, there has been much cruelty faced by those misunderstood or not part of the majority. With this historic ruling in Japan, the world moves closer to embracing all walks of life.