Osaka court deems non-recognition of same-sex marriage constitutional

A court in western Japan has rejected a lawsuit claiming damages by plaintiffs who argued it is unconstitutional that same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in the country.

Three same-sex couples filed the lawsuit at the Osaka District Court, demanding one million yen per plaintiff in compensation.

They argued that not being legally allowed to register their partnerships as marriages infringed on their rights under the freedom and equality principles laid out in the Constitution.

They claimed that the failure to provide recognition of same-sex marriage is unreasonable and cruel as there are no differences between the married life of a heterosexual couple and a same-sex couple.

The state meanwhile argued that the Constitution does not provide a basis for legitimizing same-sex marriage, and demanded that the court dismiss the case.

In a decision handed down on Monday, presiding judge Doi Fumi ruled in favor of the state.

The ruling runs counter to a 2021 decision by the Sapporo District Court that acknowledged the government's non-recognition of same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

Similar lawsuits have been filed separately in three other legal jurisdictions in Japan.