TOKYO — A Japanese court has ruled the government’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, recognizing the rights of same-sex couples for the first time in the only Group of Seven country that doesn’t acknowledge their legal partnership.
Even though the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for government compensation, the precedent is a major victory for same-sex people and could affect similar lawsuits pending around the country.
The Sapporo court said sexuality, like race and gender, is not a matter of individual preference, and the legal benefits of marriage should be equal.
The ruling doesn't immediately change Japanese government policy. But a plaintiff in the case said she hoped it was a first step for change.