Japan and US institutions have both made declarations about same-sex partners, better protecting them. While the US has legalized gay marriage since 26 June 2015, Japan still hasn't got any laws for gay unions. Japan already delivered "union certificates" to LGBTQ+ couples in early November.
'Unconstitutional situation', says Tokyo court
Japan's failure to legally protect same-sex partners is an "unconstitutional situation", a Tokyo court ruled Wednesday in a decision hailed by marriage equality advocates. The country is the only one in the Group of Seven not to recognise same-sex unions. Its 1947 constitution stipulates that "marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes".
More than a dozen couples have filed lawsuits in district courts across Japan arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitution. The coordinated legal action, launched in 2019, is meant to pressure lawmakers to work towards marriage equality.
On Wednesday, the Tokyo District Court ruled that the definition of marriage in the constitution was legal, in a blow to the plaintiffs. But it added that "the current lack of a legal framework that allows same-sex partners to become family is a serious threat and obstacle" to individual dignity.
US Senate agrees to protect same-sex partners
The Senate passed bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriages this week, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
The bill, which would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was “a long time coming” and part of America’s “difficult but inexorable march towards greater equality.”