A Japanese district court in Osaka has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, preventing same-sex couples from being fully recognized.
In Japan, the constitution defines marriage as one of “mutual consent between both sexes,” which has been has been commonly understood as not permitting same-sex marriage, according to the BBC.
LGBTQ couples and human rights activists say the ruling is a set back after a Sapporo district court ruled that the ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional in 2021.
Three same-sex couples had brought forth the case to the Osaka court and demanded 1 million yen (US$7,400) as compensation for “unjust discrimination” in the second case of its kind in Japan.
The court denied their claim on Monday June 20, noting Japan had not had a proper public debate on the subject.
“From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realize the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognized through official recognition,” the court said in its ruling, the BBC reported. “Public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out.”
“They ruled that it is constitutional that people are being discriminated against for their sexuality that they cannot change. I am extremely furious, and I am very disappointed,” Machi Sakata, one of the people who had filed the lawsuit, said, according to Reuters.
The three couples plan to appeal the court’s decision.
Without marriage equality, same-sex couples are restricted from the benefits available only to heterosexual couples, including parental rights, hospital visitations and leasing.
Earlier in the year, the Tokyo government announced it will issue proof-of-partnership documents for LGBT couples to make their lives easier but would not recognize same-sex marriage.