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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 13 - 19  > Japan’s first same-sex marriage lawsuit is not only for couples’ rights but also for inclusive society
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2019 February 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
column 

Japan’s first same-sex marriage lawsuit is not only for couples’ rights but also for inclusive society

February 17, 2019
Akahata ‘current’ column

Ochanomizu University, a women’s university, has decided to accept male-to-female transgender students. President Murofushi Kimiko said, “Whether to grant admission to transwomen is a question linked to the core values of our university.”

Gender cannot be simply classified in two categories and thus gender identities differ from person to person. Despite this, traditional ideas about male and female still persist and sexual minorities who do not fall into the two categories have long faced discrimination. Murofushi stressed that it is necessary to better understand the issue with accurate knowledge based on the fact that there are many variations in gender identity.

Seeking to officially marry their partners, 13 same-sex couples on February 14 filed lawsuits with the Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka district courts. They claim that their constitutional right to freedom of marriage and equality are being undermined. This is the first court case for same-sex marriage in Japan.

The plaintiffs argue that they cannot inherit their partners’ estate, sign a consent form for surgery on their partners, nor become a parent of their partners’ children. The couples stress that they love each other just as much as opposite-sex couples do, but are deprived by the state of their right to pursue happiness under the Constitution.

The international trend is to acknowledge a wide variety of gender identities, protect the rights of sexual minorities, and make the necessary changes in government programs. However, officials of the Abe government are prone to making sexist remarks revealing their prejudice. The court battle for individual dignity will also work to prevent an absolute tyranny by the government.

President Murofushi pointed out that to throw open the university’s door to sexual minorities has a lot to do with not only persons directly concerned but also the general public. It is important to courageously stand up and raise voice of protest against unjustness. Such an action taken by each individual contributes to the creation of a society where all members are treated with respect and enjoy freedom.

Past related articles:
> Koike criticizes LDP as being irresponsible in regard to anti-LGBTQ remarks frequently made by LDP Dietmembers [January 8, 2019]
> Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly passes ordinance to ban discrimination against LGBTQ [October 6, 2018]
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