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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 February 18 - 24  > Discussion on same-sex marriage has finally begun in Japan
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2015 February 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Discussion on same-sex marriage has finally begun in Japan

February 23, 2015
Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward has announced the first plan in Japan to supply a certificate for civil partnerships that took place in the ward. Following this announcement, an LGBT rights advocacy group earlier this month held a study meeting in Tokyo on same-sex marriage legislation.

At the meeting, Nagano Yasushi, a lawyer working to protect the human rights of gays and lesbians, delivered a lecture. He pointed out that couples of the same sex are suffering various inconveniences and disadvantages due to a lack of legal recognition of their relationships. For example, the lawyer cited, they are often denied information regarding the health condition of their partners receiving emergency treatment in hospital; they cannot inherit their partners’ property and assets; they are not allowed to live in public housing units; and they are not granted a tax allowance for a spouse.

Given that the Constitution guarantees the right to the pursuit of happiness (Article 13), equality under the law (Article 14), and individual dignity and essential equality of the sexes (Article 24), the Supreme Law requires the impartial treatment of all couples, Nagano stressed.

Nagano refuted an argument by some news media that the Constitution does not allow same-sex marriages because Article 24 stipulates that marriage shall be based “only on the mutual consent of both sexes”. Saying that this stipulation was made to undermine Japan’s prewar patriarchy and to ensure gender equality, Nagano concluded that the Constitution does not deny homosexuals’ right to marry.

He expressed his hope that the introduction of a civic partnership system will help raise people’s awareness on this issue and LGBT people will obtain legal and social recognition.
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