According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo Newso, the 13 couples have seized four district courts:
Couples believe that their constitutional rights are not respected.
Although there is no prohibition of marriage equality, the government interprets the Constitution’s marriage provisions not to allow same-sex unions.
They don’t take into account the parts of the Constitution guaranteeing equality, as couples’ lawyers explain.
“The Constitution gives you the right to pursue happiness and equality before the law,” said Yoshie Yokoyama, one of the group’s lawyers, according to the South China Morning Post. “Not recognizing same-sex marriage violates this.”
Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution stipulates that “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.”
The idea is to change this article so that all couples can marry.
More and more Japanese municipalities recognize same-sex unions, yet these “partnership certificates” do not grant all the rights that married couples can enjoy, such as inheritance rights, visitation rights during health emergencies and spousal visas.
For the first time in Japan, same-sex couples are engaging in a legal battle to gain better recognition of their unions.