TOKYO Ruling that the country's ban on same-sex marriages does not violate the constitution, a Japanese court rejected a demand for 1 million yen ($7,400) in damages per couple for discrimination during a recent court hearing.
The plaintiffs - two male couples and one female couple - were among 14 same-sex couples who filed lawsuits against the government in 2019 for allegedly being discriminated against by being deprived of the same economic and legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy through marriage.
In its ruling, an Osaka court said freedom of marriage in the 1947 constitution only refers to male-female unions and does not include those of the same sex, and therefore banning same-sex marriages is not unconstitutional.
The court, however, urged the parliament to seek methods to better protect same-sex relationships, including options to legalize same-sex marriage.
Under current laws in Japan, same-sex couples cannot inherit each other's property, house or other assets they share, and have no parental rights over each other's children. They are often barred from renting apartments together, and from hospital visits and other services available to married couples.
The Tokyo metropolitan government recently adopted a plan to accept registrations starting in October from sexual-minority couples seeking certificates of their partnerships, but this is not the same as a marriage certificate and does not provide equal legal protection.